"I can’t think of anything that demonstrates the sovereign nature of the self better than a blog.” - Doc Searls
About the Author
Stowe Boyd is a well-known media subversive, and an internationally recognized authority on real-time, collaborative and social technologies. His new blog is Message.

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January 05, 2006

Zero Tolerance For Zero Women

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Susan Mernit notes that the upcoming O'Reilly eTel conference has, you guessed, zero women speakers:

[ from Susan Mernit's Blog: O'Reilly eTel conference: Dinosaurs say Women extinct?]

There's been some surprise among friends of mine this past week that O'Reilly's Emerging Telephony conference, which runs Jan. 24-26 in the Bay area, has no--and that means zero--female speakers on the line-up. As in not even one of the moderators is female.

I wonder how many women will go? I wonder how many men will notice?

Comments (21) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

December 12, 2005

Steve Case Online Live at 11am Today

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

To discuss his Break AOL Apart article (see Outlook: Time to Undo the Merger?)

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Loic Le Meur on I Wonder Why Stowe Does Not Answer Me

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am working through the monumental batch of comments that people have been kind enough to leave on Get Real in the past few weeks, and I have been remiss in repsonding to many of them, such as Loic's posts and comments (seeLoic Le Meur Blog: I wonder why Stowe does not answer me) regarding some things I said about Les Blogs.

I am totally bored with blog conferences, as I said in several posts over the past months.

Specifically regarding Les Blogs, I had not planned to attend. Then, when I was at Web 2.0, I was talking to a certain someone (I will withhold his name, since I feel he is an innocent in this situation), and he asked me if I would like to speak at Les Blogs again this December -- note that I had spoken there in the spring. At the time, I was contemplating a trip to Europe for my new series, The New Visionaries. So I said, ok, if you'd like me to speak, I will arrange my travel around that. I had also thought that at least one or two of the European visionaries I want to interview for the series might be attending. Would have been a nice hat trick.

On returning from Web 2.0 I did not hear from Loic, and I expected him to follow up on the invitation from Mr. Anonymous, since I presumed that the invitation was just that: an invitation. Not an invitation to put my name in the hat. But, nothing. So, wanting to resolve travel and to coordinate meetings with various people, I sent an email to Loic, asking what's the story? And Loic's response was this:

Hi Stowe thanks for your interest ! I am thinking about how to finalize the program and it is difficult to have the same speakers list of course as this was only 6 months ago

Thanks, let me come back to you asap !


Which was the last I heard from him. So I took that as a no.

But it's alright, since the launch of the series has been pushed to January, and I still have an additional 5 or 6 Americans queued up for interviews in the Bay Area in January. My plan now is to head to Europe in late January or early February.

Regarding my first post about the recent Les Blogs, I couldn't resist the picture of Marc Canter snoozing. I love Marc, but it was impossible not to post it as an emblem of my ennui regarding blog conferences. And it is initial post that I made the comment about being bored, and not the subsequent post. I didn't delete that statement from the later post. But if I had done so, what are you implying? That I am trying to cover up the fact that I am bored with blog conferences? I don't think that's a secret.

And Loic doesn't mention the second post I wrote with Loic showing off his N90 cell phone.

Third Les Blogs post: Mena's meltdown was being widely discussed, and I joined in (see A Kinder, Gentler Blogosphere), but I didn't think of that as a dig against the conference per se, just coming in on the side of the angels in this "imbloglio".

Although, come to think of it, I am not a big fan of displaying the backchannel at conferences. So I can level that criticism to Loic and the conference organizers, since it was the conspicuous nuisance that led to the eruption of ill will, hostility, and incivility, there.

I like backchannel discussion, but nearly everytime I have participated in an event where the backchannel was displayed behind the podium has led to -- at the least -- confusion and interruptions, and -- at the worst -- some sort of acrimonious flareup like the Mena meltdown.

At the recent Symposium on Social Architecture, where I was chair, we had decided not to display the backchannel. In one session, Mary Hodder and Kevin Marks were showing some materials from a laptop, and in the display was the backchannel: which led to a spontaneous discussion of the pros and cons of displaying the backchannel. And that really was just another of the interruptions that displaying backchannels can cause, since their topic was really about something else altogether.

Anyway, Loic, I hope that clears up all your comments and questions.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

December 10, 2005

Internet Identity Workshop 12 Dec 2005

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Mary Hodder wrote to alert me (and you) to this upcoming workshop. Alas, I can't be there.

[via email]

The Internet Identity Workshop presents an
Informational Morningfor Developers
Hosted by Doc Searls, Mary Hodder and Identity Woman Kaliya

Monday, December 12, 2005 9-12 noon, with lunch from 12-1
Canton Dim Sum 655 Folsom
Cost $20 for lunch (PLEASE RSVP HERE:
Canton Restaurant has been kind enough to give us the space if we all have lunch there, but we need an accurate count by Sunday at noon.

If you are a developer working on a application that has folks login - this is a morning for you.

Doc Searls will begin the day giving an overview of the identity landscape. He and others will answer the question:

* Why do identity systems matter when building new systems and tools?

We are bringing together a spectrum of folks who have been working on developing identity systems and tools. Identity Developers will share their work, basics and best practices to date to get started exploring
integrating identity into these applications. These include YADIS, LID, Open ID, i-names/XRI, SXIP,among others.

Developers ofapplications who have included identity into their services and tools will sharebriefly how they've done it. Application developers will hear from and meet with identity developers to ask questions.

Event Info:
Detailed Agenda:


Comments (33) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

December 07, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Blogosphere

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Wow. I have been traveling back and forth across the US the past two days, and completely missed this piece. Apparently Mena Trott gave a sort of odd (to be kind) talk at Les Blogs (again, I am glad I didn't go), where she called for a "nicer" blogosphere. Then some casually minded guy, Ben Metcalfe, disagrees with the thrust of the talk in the IRC backchannel, which was being projected behind Mena, and then...

[from :Ben Metcalfe Blog -- Blog Archive -- Les Blogs: Me Mena]

Whilst all of this was going on, we were making our thoughts known on the conference backchannel (like we did for every session, good or bad). From what others were saying it was clear her speech was getting a lot of other people’s backs up too, not just mine. I wrote several times that I found elements of the speech patronising – especially when the idea was floated about a suggested “terms and conditions” for commenting.

During the backchannel conversation I did finally loose my cool and describe what she was saying as “bullshit” – which I concede is a strong word to have used. However, this was a backchannel environment and as such I feel it went up to, but didn’t cross the line, of what you can reasonably expect from “backchannel discourse”. I also want to reemphasise that that the tone and content of Mena’s speech was so unbelievably way off what was appropriate given the nature of the audience. This sentiment has been backed up by others someone even described it as “startlingly na�ve” during a post-session chat about it.

However, my “bullshit” comment hadn’t gone unnoticed, as the backchannel was also being projected onto the screens at the front of the auditorium. Clearly this was the straw the broke the camel’s back, and Mena highlighted my comment. Shel Israel came to her defense and demanded for “dotBen to stand up and show yourself” [clairification: Mena asked me to stand up, Shel voiced his support]

And being the no-shit kinda guy I am, I did. In front of 400 influential bloggers and opinion formers I stood up

What followed was a brief but frank discourse between Mena at the lectern and me, with a radio mic, at the back of the hall.

Which is characterized at the Blog Herald as "Mena Trott implodes on stage at Les Blogs: calls participant an Asshole after lecturing audience about the importance of civility", which seems to sum it up, sadly enough.

[Note: The comments at Ben's post are fascinating, like Dave Winer's: "I never thought comments were an integral part of blogging. You can go back and read my archive to see that I’ve been pretty consistent about that." Huh? Conversational medium, but comments aren't integral? And Don Park lends true wisdom: "To sum it up, my advice is to:

  1. be civil mostly.
  2. be direct when civility intereferes more than helps.
  3. be tolerant always.

Comments (15) + TrackBacks (3) | Category: Events

Les (ZZZZ) Blogs: Glad I Didn't Go

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I haven't been paying too much attention to the posts abou Les Blogs, since I am totally bored with blog conferences. But Marc's post confirmed my premonitions:

[from Marc’s Voice]

Had a great day - today. Except the Citizen Journalism panel was pretty boring - as usual.

And the pictures?


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November 16, 2005

Is Business Ready For Social Software?

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am just starting to come back to normalcy (such as it is, for me), and pulling together my thoughts about the Symposium on Social Architecture. I have been trying to catch up on the excellent posts by David Weinberger and others (see Corante SSA), but I couldn't resist the attention that out slacker ethic seems to have caused:

[from Is business ready for social software? by Bob Brown]

The conference, held in a Harvard Law School classroom, oozed casualness, as speakers donned jeans and hats, and repeatedly encouraged attendees to join in the discussion. Attendees included a mix of social software developers, bloggers armed with laptops (see a collection of blogs on the event here) and even employees of well-known tech vendors such as IBM and HP. Social software discussed included not just blog programs but also community-oriented Web sites such as Flickr and

I wonder what hat he was talking about?

The session sparked one major insight for me. As individuals adopt social software, and attempt to use it as an adjunct to their professional work, they might pull it into their organization... or maybe they won't. Imagine that many small or medium sized companies (and in the future, large ones...) individuals might simply use the tools that they are conversant with. So people in the music business might network directly through MySpace, rather than through soem company specific solution. The same model may repeat in other sectors -- lawyers collaborating through a future solution, or new media people coordinating through the social solutions offered in the online solutions where they are posting their video podcasts.

This could lead to a hollowing out of the corporate role in defining and deciding what are the appropriate tools for business to be conducted.

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November 11, 2005

Symposium on Social Architecture

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am happy to say that things are moving ahead for the symposium next week.

Some new news:

  • Seth Goldstein, of Transparent Bundles and Root Vault, will be joining Kaliya Hamlin, John Hagel and me, on the session entitled "Is Business Ready For Social Software?".
  • Thomas Vander Wal, who coined the term "folksonomy", will be offering some closing observations with me, at the close of the day.
  • I don't know if I mentioned earlier that Tina Sharkey, of AOL, and Joe Hurd, of Friendster, will be joining us.

We are getting up toward our limit, so if you are interested in joining us, hurry!

We start with a reception Monday 14 Nov at the Harvard Faculty Club, and the symposium itself is Tuesday, 8:45am-5pm at Harvard.

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October 27, 2005

Podcasting on Windows: Today's Show Postponed

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Due to a communications black out (Greg's cable is on the fritz), we are forced to push today's scheduled Podcasting on Windows to tomorrow, Friday 28 Oct at 1pm ET. Greg will be reviewing iTunes, Yahoo, and other directories, and I have an interview with Lee Wilkins, co-founder of Be there!

Comments (38) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

October 25, 2005

Web 2.0 = Male 2.0

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Liz Lawley points out that the folks at the Web 2.0 conference are doing a better job than last year on the male/female balance of speakers:

[from speakerwatch: web 2.0 redux]

So, I guess I should be grateful that they've more than doubled the number of women speaking, right?

I hadn't noticed, since I was spending all my time in the unconference out in the hall and in meetings, but there were eight women out of 107 speakers. Way better than last year's three.

Comments (39) + TrackBacks (26) | Category: Events

October 20, 2005

Podcasting on Windows: Online Service

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Just a reminder that the next in our Podcasting on Windows webcasts is today at 1pm ET. Joining me will be Rick Klau of Feedburner, and the topic is Online Services for Podcasting.

click for webcast URL
Conference Call: Dial-in #: 563 843 7500
Passcode: 8524544507
Meeting ID: 335-176-717

Podcasting on Windows is sponsored by GoToMeeting.

Comments (45) + TrackBacks (1) | Category: Events

October 19, 2005

Get Real Minute: Blogon Highlight

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I went to Blogon this week, and the highlight was... Peter Hirshberg's lunch presentation...

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Symposium on Social Architecture: Andrew Rasiej

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Andrew Rasiej, the Founder and Publisher of the Personal Democracy Forum, will be joining us at the Symposium for Social Architecture on Nov 15th at Harvard. Andrew's activities most recently were in the spotlight as a result of his candidacy for Public Advocate of New York City, running in the Democratic primary. Although his bid for that post was unsuccessful, his platform -- which included elements such as municipal wifi -- drew a great deal of attention on a national level. Many writers, including Tom Friedman and me, saw something significant in his orientation to the issues he brought into the debate. Andrew will be participating in our session called "Katrina and Recovery 2.0: A Case Study in Web-based Civics".

Andrew has been deeply involved in the application of technology to politics, and has served as an advisor to Senators and Congressman and political candidates on the use of Information Technology for campaign and policy purposes since 1999. In 2001, he addressed the United States Senate Democratic Caucus in the Capital Building on the "Digital Divides Facing Democratic Party" and has been actively involved in the campaigns of many Senators and Congressmen. For the 2004 Presidential race he served as Chairman of the Howard Dean Technology Advisory Council. An accomplished entrepreneur and media figure, Andrew will be a great addition to our Symposium.

Jeff Jarvis, who was hoping to attend the Symposium, and who has played an invaluable role in its formation, has a insurmountable conflict, and will not be with us at Harvard, alas. But with Andrew and Chris Nolan (and others in the works) the Web-based Civics session is going to be very interesting, nonetheless.

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October 18, 2005

Mary Hodder, Kaliya Hamlin, JD Lasica and Chris Nolan Speaking at The Symposium For Social Architecture

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am glad to say that JD Lasica (New Media Musings) will be leading one of the sessions at the upcoming Symposium for Social Architecture: How Will The Social Web Change Media? JD will do a great job, and is bringing together some great contributors for the session.

Chris Nolan (SpotOn -- note: new domain!), one of the most vocal leaders of the "stand alone journalism" movement, will be joining Jeff Jarvis and others in a session dedicated to what we can learn from the role the web does and does not play in disaster preparedness and response (A Case Study In Web-Based Civics: Katrina and Recovery 2.0).

The conference is shaping into something really fascinating. I spent sometime yesterday, at Blogon, chatting with Kaliya Hamlin, who will be joining me in my session (Is Business Ready For Social Software?). She suggested that we examine the asymmetries in relationships between individuals and businesses, and the likelihood that people will increasingly demand more symmetric relationships. As just one example, Kaliya maintains that people will want to retain information about their purchasing history, and not simply cede it to those businesses that we do business with. And, we may want to invert the normal course of business, based on this information. Imagine that I am traveling to San Francisco, and I could publish some version of my hotel rental history and interests through some as now unavailble solution (a mirror-image of eBay, perhaps?) that would allow hotels to publish bids to me for rooms. This general observation about increasing the symmetry in relationships through social technologies will be a springboard into related within-the-business topics, as well. I believe that social tools are inherently subversive, because they will disrupt established patterns of authority, and naturally push business toward acting as more democratic swarmocracies.

I spoke for a few moments with Mary Hodder, who will be leading a session as well: Engines of Meaning: How Will We Scale Our Understanding? I lifted the "engines of meaning" meme from Bruce Sterling:

Ultimately no human brain, no planet full of human brains, can possibly catalog the dark, expanding ocean of data we spew. In a future of information auto-organized by folksonomy, we may not even have words for the kinds of sorting that will be going on; like mathematical proofs with 30,000 steps, they may be beyond comprehension. But they'll enable searches that are vast and eerily powerful. We won't be surfing with search engines any more. We'll be trawling with engines of meaning.

Mary and others will dig into this critical question: how will be make sense of the expanding blob of human discourse that makes up the Web?

For more information and registration for the Symposium, click here.

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Susan Mernit on Seth Godin's Blogon Keynote

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I was dismayed by Seth Godin's kickoff keynote at Blogon yesterday. It was really just the eBook he releases last week as part of the luanch of his new Squidoo venture. It was -- despite his posturing that the keynote was an attempt at motivating more general notions -- just a pitch for the company. Susan does a good job detailing the pitch:

[from Susan Mernit's Blog: BlogOn Kick Off: Seth Godin's Kick Off--AKA Commercial]

Recap: BlogOn?s key note by Seth Godin is a 20minute commercial for his new product, yet another tool set to harness bloggers to generate pages that can make Google Ad Words $$ for someone who has $250,000 to build a platform

AM I jaded, or is this really off focus for a conference kick off?

leaving aside Seth's motivations for the talk, which really runs against the grain of my personal expectations for a conference keynote, the Squidoo concept is interesting, although small. It's a simple premise: search a la Google yeilds too much. People need guidance rather than 100 million hits. So why not contrive authoritative guides to the inifinity of areas people might be interested in?

Jarvis seems to be taken with the idea, at least in a small way.

I think static "lenses" of the sort that Seth has envisioned are the wrong approach however. I have written a bunch about search as a shared space: new approaches to search (the primary way that people find stuff) where an individual or a group of people can augment the mechanized results of a Google-like search with reorganization of the contents, filtering out junk, adding comments and new links, and making sense of the chaos in general. Products like JetEye and Rollyo are examples. These are persistent, and growing search spaces. Instead of a static Squidoo lens on some topic I am arguably expert in, like Web 2.0 Apps, I might create a search space of this sort, leveraging key words, tags, specific sources, and the like.

So, Squidoo faces competition from the traditional search engines, but in the long run, it will be running up against the proliferation of these value-added search-as-shared-space offerings. And my bet is on the latter, especially as those features emerge in the majors. I anticipate social, shared search any time in the My Search History feature set at Google, for example. Yahoo and Microsoft are likely to follow.

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October 11, 2005

Web 2.0 Email

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

From an email today:

Hope you have recovered from the reality distortion field of the web2.0 conference ;)

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October 10, 2005

A Get Real Minute: Let's Party Like It's 1998

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Out at the Web 2.0 conference, there was a strange undertone...

party1998.jpegclick to listen.

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October 05, 2005

Web 2.0 - First Take

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I walked into the Web 2.0 conference, and immediately realized that the hotel was too small, or at least the rooms are. Hanging in the corridor with danah boyd, Peter Kaminski, Kaliya Hamlin, Marc Canter, Ross Mayfiled, and two dozen other old friends, I discovered that the sessions are so packed that I couldn't even get in.

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October 04, 2005

Get Real Minute: Web 2.0 Conference

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

A few words about the upcoming Web 2.0 conference: yes, I'll be there. With all the meetings, how will I ever get to the actual conference?

Click to hear The Get Real Minute for 3 October 2005: Web 2.0 Conference Thoughts.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

October 03, 2005

Podcasting on Windows: Audio Editing

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Just a reminder: Greg Narain will be hosting a episode of Podcasting on Windows this week, and the topic is Audio Editing. Greg is deeply knowledgeable on this subject, based on his Beercasting project. He will also be pulling in a mystery guest.

Thursday, 6 October 2005: 1:00pm ET - 1:45pm ET.

Podcasting on Windows is a production of Corante, and is sponsored by GoToMeeting.

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September 22, 2005

Podcasting on Windows: Intro to Podcasting

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Just a reminder that Greg Narain and I are kicking off a series of webcasts at 1pm ET today, called Podcastng on Windows (see here for details). The series is sponsored by GoToMeeting. Today, we start with an introduction to podcasting, and Greg will enlighten us all on his Beercasting project, which has been very successful so far.

(PS If you wrote down the codes to join the teleconference, please do not use the 'sub pin code' -- thanks!)

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August 16, 2005

Social Architecture: The Foundation of The Blogosphere

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Over the past several months, I have written many times about "social architecture" (see here). I recently invited a group of thought leaders to join me in developing a one-day Corante symposium on the topic, and got a great response; but I also got one email (from Ross Mayfield) that said "Sure, sounds fun. What's Social Architecture?" For the sake of my co-conspirators on the event, and anyone else, I am writing this post to clarify what I think the term denotes, and set a loose collection of questions to start a dialogue about the event.

[Note: I should be formally announcing venue (Boston, provisionally) and date (early November, provisionally) in the next few days.]

Social Architecture Dynamics

The following diagram is an attempt to charcterize the interactions of three sorts of "social agents" in the blogosphere -- the human creators (or authors) of blog writings, the human readers of blog writing, and the social software applications (or "machines") that search and analyze the blogosphere based on the social "gestures" that human writers and readers leave behind. Note that human authors and readers are collapsed into one category -- they are almost identical from the viewpoint of social architecture, since they both are reading and then leaving a gestural history behind.


Authors and readers both leave social traces behind (or "gestures"), as a result of their activities. Authors point to other blogs in their posts - either by link or by name - and create ageless links like blogrolls: these represent an implicit social network relationship between the parties, not just a topical pointer, like a search engine provides. And the actions of readers (which includes all authors) create similar gestural information: explicit, shared evidence of reading like comments and bookmarks, and implicit value indications, like the frequency of return to a specific blog, or the number of comments left.

Authors and readers can make assertions about blog posts, based on various capabilities that are basic to the current Web, like HTML keywords, or relying on specific capabilities supported by various software implementations, like rating services, blogging tools (Movable Type categories, for example), or tags. Tags in particular are an area of intense interest, to a large measure as a result of the premise of a distributed, decentralized, and bottom-up approach to making sense of the exploding volume of the blogosphere. For example, we browse through the tagspace of our network of friends or all users as a whole to discover web pages of possible interest: a social search mechanism.

Machines -- software applications, like Google or Technorati -- "read" the blogosphere, too, although not in the way that people do. These apps are plowing through the blogs, indexing the text, and, on the social side, algorithmically evaluating the value of various blogs or blog posts based on the social cues that readers and writers have left behind, as well as less social analysis, like keyword incidence.

The analysis that machines provide serves the general needs of readers, and specialized reader constituencies, like advertisers. We use the analysis of Google and other search tools to provide us the most relevant and most highly valued results based on our search terms. We use Technorati's tag-based analysis to help us find the most recent or most relevant and highly rated posts associated with given tags, or sets of tags. They provide, therefore, and very useful service necessary for us to make sense of the expanding blogosphere.

On The Road To Get There

In essense, what people are doing is an endless search for more stuff to read.


In a real sense, what we do on the Web can be reduced to the graph above: we are somewhere -- looking at some page, a search result, the New York Times -- and then we read what's there, we make comments, capture bookmarks, or write blog posts. These are all -- including the micro details of how we read the page -- gestures that represent, implicitly or explicitly a value judgment about the material we are looking at. Sooner or later we leave the page, perhaps following a local link: one embedded in the post, a blogroll link, or a tag. Alternatively, we might jump from the local context not using local, hard coded links, but just typing in specific terms or tags at Google or Technorati, that are related in some way to what we were reading.

Clicking on any link is a vote -- clicking on an embedded link leads to overall link counts for the target page, while clicking on a tag is an endorsement of the relevance of the tag, itself, given the context where it occurs. All these gestures are ways that we extend ourselves in the world, and thereby make it our own, and socializing it.

[Note: This is why graffitti is a creative act. What is considered defacement is in fact an innate socializing impulse -- to leave our mark on what we behold, and thereby denote our liaison with the greater world.]

But we are always moving from Somewhere to Elsewhere, and everything we do on the way is potentially a gesture that could, if it were captured, lead to a richer understanding of the relevance and value of the pages -- and by extension, the authors -- involved.

Toward an Ecology of Social Architecture

The elements of social architecture are appearing at a bewildering rate, and there are a number of very complex societal and economic issues emerging along with the explosion of social artifacts:

1/ Ethics and Economics of Social Gestures -- Who owns the traces of social architecture? If authors create public tags -- for example -- can companies accumulate them, and sell the resulting information gleaned without consideration for the authors? Do we need to tag all tags with creative commons-like agreements? The same considerations arise relative to other public gesture spaces -- comments, links, and so on.

2/ Open Architecture -- How open is enough? How should various sorts of gestures be implemented: for example, there has been a lot of discussion recently about making tags more open (see here). If a few major companies (Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, for example) come out with competitive, closed Technorati-like solutions, we could rapidly find ourselves in a fragmented world, with three non-interoperating, partially overlapping tagspaces. It is clearly not in the public interest to go down this path, like what has happened in the instant messaging world.

3/ Privacy and Identity -- What measures for privacy should be contemplated? Is there some way to make gestures only sharable with known others? What does anonymity mean in a socialized Web? Is it possible at all? Are we defined as the sum of our gestures? Will we be declaring our willingness to be advertised to by a tag-based profile? What is the aggregate complement of the history of our meandering around the Web, writing, comments, and tagging?

4/ Better Social Elements -- Blogrolls and other explicit links are very coarse-grained mechanisms to represent social relationships between people, but explicit mechanisms to denote degrees or depth of relationships have not emerged. Is there a solution here, buried in the countless gestures we make in the world, including closed spaces like your email and instant messaging, or explicit social networks?

5/ The Personal and Global 100 -- The recent spate of criticism about the various top 100 lists suggests that new ways of analyzing social architecture are needed so that the oft-quoted notion -- "everyone can have their own top 100" -- might be more than just an handwave. How do can we manage our own lists, really? Explicit blogrolls (embodied in blog readers, on on our blogs) is not at all the same as determining who are the most relevant top 100 writers on a topic of interest, based on personal preferences and inclinations.


The continued growth of the Blogosphere will make its social architecture even more of an global asset that it has already proven to be. We will continue to witness enormous technological innovation, with dozens of new Flickrs, Technoratis, and De.licio.uses appearing in the next year. As more writing (and other media, like audio, video, and photographs) is generated on an ever widening range of topics, more and more machine-generated analysis of human social gestures, and the gestures themselves, will play an increasinglt important role in making sense of the Web. Without these techniques, the explosion of the Blogosphere will overwhelm our traditional information-based approaches.

The criticality of these activities will cause friction on technological, societal, and economic levels, and as so those of us who are most interested and involved in these discussions may have a significant impact on the future direction of the socialized Web. The planned Symposium is intended to bring together thought leaders, practitioners, and entrepreneurs in the arena and to explore the various threads making up the discussion about social architecture.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Corante | Events

June 27, 2005

Highlights from Gnomedex

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Posted by Arieanna Foley

Gnomedex has come and gone. It was, hands down, an amazing conference (or un-conference, as it turns out). It was basically a room full of thought-leaders coming together to share ideas and look at where we are going. The energy and the vibe were exhilarating. Chris and Ponzi did an amazing job of not only organizing the event, but coordinating all the speakers and topics and making sure everyone got the most out of it.

I met a ton of new people, went all out blogging the whole thing on Blogaholics (23 posts in all!), and came home with a bag full of swag.

Anyway, rather than inundate everyone with all of my posts, I'll just go over some of the highlights:

Dave Winer notes that anyone can lead the future of the web now. It's not about being the leader or controlling the technology anymore. He advises us to think of the web based on how everything interconnects. To think of it as a repository of knowledge. When you do, you'll think of it based on how things fit together. Technology is secondary to this and should be used to highlight these interconnections.

We saw the release of IE 7 and previewed Longhorn, which will feature RSS integration as its main selling point. Many of the RSS features, including the new Simple List Extension, will be available under Creative Commons.

Dave Sifry notes that the web is a stream of state changes, not documents or pages. It's people talking.

The Hive was launched. For Windows fanatical leaders. Enough said.

Matt Westervelt, Asa Dotzler, Scott Collins and Matt Mullenweg had a great session on Open Source; all about the benefits of word of mouth, about community building, and the challenges of choosing what is your core product and what you leave to others in the form of extensions. It's hard to transcribe. My posts are here and here.

Julie Leung gave the best presentation at Gnomedex. Everyone just sat in awe. Julie gave a presentation on blogging as a social tool and the challenges in deciding what to blog, what to keep private, and what your online self really is. It was inspiring to hear her struggle to find the balance as well as her rich description of the benefits you get from sharing your life online with others.

"This is a personal media revolution" - JD Lasica (ourmedia)

Terry Heaton (Donata Communications) told us how WKRN-TV was using blogging to build audience. They started with one blogger but now they are moving to having the reporters all blog as a part of the company-endorsed strategy.

Adam Curry keynoted the end of Gnomedex by sharing with us Daily Source Code #200 with the following highlights:

  • "We want to take back the media. Not to put it into our hands, but our hearts"
  • Blogging is a communication medium. A marketing medium. It will always be both. Let's embrace it.
  • Podcasting will be the revolution for music promotion
  • We're taking back our media to its roots in the hearts and minds of people through the power of subscription.

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June 21, 2005

James Surowiecki Keynote: We Are Not Ants

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I had the opportunity to hear James Surowiecki's keynote this morning. See my comments here, in a post I called "We Are Not Ants"

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June 20, 2005

Missing the Point at Supernova?

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

[Update: Kevin Werbach points out that the dinnner that Suw attended was not a Supernova session: "we invited Supernova attendees and friends to attend as our pre-conference dinner." I also want to note that Kevin did in fact invite me back to speak at Supernova, despite the hue-and-cry that followed my 'email blows' session. I think that shows that Kevin understands the value of dissent, and as a result is interested in a diverse range of viewpoints. Thank you, Kevin.]

Suw Charman attended the Supernova kick-off dinner, and she suggests that folks attending are missing the point about the collision between social media and the mainstream:

[...] the crowd there (and half the panel) didn't really seem to grasp the issues, and there was quite a bit of hostility and opinionated voices without much in the way of displays of deeper understanding. Maybe I felt that way because I have been thinking about and talking about blogging and its impact on the media for a while, so such a shallow and unfocused discussion is always going to leave me wondering why I bothered.

As the social media meme begins to diffuse, all sorts of odd things happen. One that I have seen a lot in the past year -- in over 10 conferences I have attended -- where the dreaded panel session format (see ) throws up all sorts of characters onto the podium. Especially those that attempt to occupy some sort of surreal middleground, stating that blogs are "just another medium" that can be used "to push messages" and so on, but that the same old techniques have to be applied to get maximum return on whatever buzzword. Gah.

I guess I have had some reservations about the Supernova show, too, but it's moot since I will only be here a few hours. I am doing a True Voice seminar this morning, and then heading east to NYC for the CTC 2005 conference. I look forward to hearing Suw's take on the conference. I was almost lynched here last year for saying that "email blows" when I was heading a session on the future of email. I wonder what the tenor of the conference will be this year, now that Wharton is involved. Last year, I definitely felt that the neck-to-necktie ratio had moved in the wrong direction: not enough fringe lunatics, and too many folks in $400 shoes.

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June 14, 2005

Call For Participation on Social Architecture Symposium: Tools For New Wave Social Media

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I would like to organize a conference, and following the general meme of an open business plan (that I have pursued recently), I am opening the discussion to whoever is interested.

The theme I am interested in is Social Architecture: Tools and Technologies for a New Wave of Social Media. The social architecture term I am shamelessly lifting from the recent interaction with John Hagel (see here), one of the authors of Can Your Firm Develop a Sustainable Edge? Maybe I can coerce John into participating?

I will also be sending out emails, inviting various tech firms, thought leaders, and researchers to jump in. I guess I still don't trust blogging to be the sole mechanism of getting things rolling on an activity like this.

I hope to explore dozens of themes at the symposium, but all circling around social media, and the social architecture that arises from our interactions through these technologies and tools. I am eager to create an opportunity for a wide range of researchers, analysts, entrepreneurs and users to interact. And I want to explore Marc Cantor's contention (see here) that this has to be more than just a brief real world event: it needs to be an ongoing community, with continuing virtual activity after the symposium is over, and leading up to the event itself. Marc's already said he's interested. Now, all I have to do is convince some weak-minded people to do all the hard work involved (wink).

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June 12, 2005

sponsored by Microsoft

Does IT Matter? A new look at an old argumentEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Posted by Arieanna Foley

Does IT Matter? This is the discussion I recently had with Larry Cannel, who has been an integrated part of the Collaborative Applications Group at Ford Motor Company since 1998. As a leader in the IT side of driving collaborative technology strategies, he has some great insight to the actual deployment and adoption of collaborative tools. Part of leading change is understanding new technologies and how they can solve enterprise knowledge and collaborative needs. Larry will be speaking at the Collaborative Technologies Conference, which starts in just a week now, on Collaborative Strategy and how IT can drive these strategies. In essence, Larry argues that IT does indeed matter.

Can IT lead collaborative strategies? Or should it be left to each vertical function to find their own means? Larry strongly asserts that, in most cases, IT are the only ones in the position to do so. However, it really does depend on the individual or team leading the process. One crucial component is perspective. Is IT the owner of the collaboration tool or are they the operator of it? Most of the time IT is simply the operator of technology - you throw out a tool like audioconferencing then just walk away. However, with collaborative tools, they must step up to be the owners. Here is the distinction in perspective: as an operator, the focus is on saving cost and avoiding risk; as an owner, the focus is on creating value and seeking opportunities to create value - on making it easier for people to meet and collaborate. To do so, they must drive the change. So, changing perspective is the first step, and it's one obviously on the shoulders of individuals. The role of IT has changed, and people must change with it.

How can IT ensure that collaboration tools are used to create value? Part of this comes in how its adopted. IT has a role to show people why something creates value - to show them how to post files in a wiki, for example, rather than dumping them to email. Reinforcing value creates a pull effect. IT can even go so far as to start using the tools themselves - to become the best practice community for others to watch and learn. Just like I discussed with Ross Mayfield on the topic of wikis, there should be a balance of bottom-up/grassrots adoption along with driving the change top-down. However, Larry and Ross differ in opinion on ownership. Ross argues for shared ownership, whereas Larry argues for IT ownership. I can see the validity in both arguments, and I'm sure it's a long-standing debate that I'm just grazing now.

Go read more of the ownership discussion on the CTC blog.

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June 10, 2005

sponsored by Microsoft

Virtual teams are just teams with amplified collaboration needsEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Posted by Arieanna Foley

Lisa Kimball and I talked a bit about virtual teams and what can accost them to make them go off track. Lisa founded Group Jazz in 2000 - her focus has been on how to create effective teams and communities online and offline. Lisa will be heading up two very interesting groups at the Collaborative Techhnologies Conference. One session will be a tutorial on effective virtual teams, the other will be a shorter speech on the same topic.

What is a virtual team? Simply, it just means people who are in different locations or companies that must work together. Lisa made the point to clarify that virtual teams really are just teams - same challenges, problems, needs, and dynamics. The only difference is that these teams, versus co-located teams, perhaps suffer from more, and earlier, team dysfunction than do non-virtual teams. Virtual teams are not just distributed across time and space, they are also often made up of people from different functions, departments or organizations. Toss in the fact that people may be on more than one team, that your team expands and contracts at irregular points and that your boss may not be everyone's boss. Sounds complex, doesn't it?

Without face-to-face interaction, problems tend to show up earlier and corrections are much more difficult to make on the fly. Before you know it, you may have taken a wrong turn in your project or your team dynamic and it will be harder to turn back the longer you leave it unchecked. With virtual teams, you cannot read people in the same way - body language, tone of voice and all of these important things are lost. Assumptions we don't know we make are suddenly taken out of the equation. The problems that can occur more frequently and/or earlier with virtual teams range from breaking the ice to trust to sustaining forward momentum and shared vision. We need to solve these team issues with more than technology. We need to processes to help manage these complicated social networks, to help foster communication, and make sure the team creates value as a whole.

What are the top three reasons virtual teams fail? According to Lisa, these are:

1. People lose the sense of the whole. They only see what they are doing and have no way to "look across the room" to see what others are doing. Lack of context kills.
2. Assumptions are not explicitly stated.
3. People don't enjoy it - they don't have fun. Without the laughs to go along with the work, it feels less "human" and the lack of personal interaction is dispiriting.

So, one of the key ways to make your virtual team happy is to make your team happy. Period. So, let's look at what makes a good team in general. Throwing people together does not a team make; a team is measured by its interconnectedness and the understanding of its goals and roles. One important step to achieving this is to create a team charter that outlines the purpose of the team, its norms, everyones roles, and how success will be measured. You don't need to write this down or talk about it in an overly formal way, but you do need to address this early on. And regularly.

Read more on how to create a better team on the CTC blog.

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May 31, 2005

A Conversation with James Surowiecki: The Promise and Perils of Collaborative Tools

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I had the chance to speak with James Surowiecki last week, who will be one of several keynote speakers for the CTC 2005 conference. James is a writer at the New Yorker, but perhaps best known for his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, that explores the ways in which groups can -- at times -- be smarter than the individuals that make them up.

We spoke about the ways that collaborative technologies can help -- and possibly hinder -- intelligent decision making within groups, especially organizations like the modern enterprise. James started the conversation by expressing his optimism about the upside potential for collaborative technologies, which are "immense, in the sense that we can learn from each other, and pass critical information to each other." At the same time, there is a downside: "the more we interact, the more we will be influenced by each other, and therefore, the independence of thought that we know is critical to good collective decision-making can begin to fade away. So, finding a balance between the two is important, especially when you consider technologies like the Internet."

Click here to read the rest of the piece at the CTC 2005 blog.

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May 27, 2005

sponsored by Microsoft

The best collaboration tool: paperEmail This EntryPrint This Article

Posted by Arieanna Foley

I had a brief but compelling chat with Eugene Kim a couple of days back. Eugene is cofounder of Blue Oxen Associates, a think tank that works on improving collaboration. He personally works a good deal on open source and interoperability and has cocreated PurpleWiki, an open source collaborative tool. Eugene will be speaking at the upcoming Collaborative Technologies Conference on 'How to Collaborate Without Really Trying' and will be moderating two other very interesting panels. His speech will definitely bring to light the problems that often come with complex and expensive collaboration tools. He'll be going over some lightweight and open source tools that can offer simple ways to streamline collaboration efforts.

From my conversation with him, I can tell that Eugene is a huge proponent of simplicity. If you only need a piece of paper, then just go ahead and use that piece of paper rather than buying a complex and cumbersome tool. In fact, when I asked Eugene what his favourite collaborative tool was, he unhesitatingly said "a piece of paper." It really can be that simple. Sketch, jot down, pass around. Easy.

I like how Larry defined the issue in his last post on CTC: "Collaboration is how we work together. Collaborative technologies present opportunities to work together more effectively." Though the opportunity may be present to optimize workflow, at the same time it can also hinder it. Sometimes, as Eugene noted, a piece of paper can still be a powerful collaborative tool.

Aside from paper, Eugene strongly believes in the power of wikis. They are a very simple tool to use, manage and learn. I think online collaboration, personally, is more powerful for one simple reason: links. Files and ideas can be linked together in ways that you cannot always do otherwise. I was surprised to hear that Eugene thinks that we could actually be seeing some good lightweight tools from Microsoft. I've had some bad Microsoft collaboration experiences just due to the amount of work it took to manage. So, we'll have to see. Other cool tools: TWiki,, Jotspot, Socialtext, and RSS feeds. For those of you wondering, we did have our conversation via Skype - how's that for collaboration.

So, if there are easy tools out there, how does collaboration go so wrong so often? Well, you've got pressure from IT and finance, constrained thinking office-wide about what constitutes a collaborative/social tool, and then you have the whole stigma around collaborative technologies that are actually inexpensive: people just don't take them seriously simple because they are affordable. Go figure.

Continue reading my article over on the Collaborative Technologies Conference Blog.

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The War Against Continuous Partial Attention

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I was following the thread of various folks' responses to a recent piece on Continuous Partial Attention (see here), and came across this piece, which suggests that various institutions -- in this case the Wall Street Journal's D3 conference organizers, including tech pundit Walter Mossberg -- are declaring war on CPA. Apparently, Jason Pontin (Technology Review's editor in chief) was asked to stop blogging by a staffer, although it turns out later that wasn't the real issue. The conference organizers sought to shield the conference from wireless so that attendees would not blog, email, IM, or backchannel -- wanting to keep everyone's attention completely in the forechannel, completely focussed on the presentations, etc. Mossberg's response:

[from comment at Pontin's blog post]

It is untrue that Kara and I banned live blogging at D3, from the ballroom or anywhere else. We merely declined to provide wi-fi, to avoid the common phenomenon that has ruined too many tech conferences -- near universal checking of email and surfing of the web during the program. The policy wasn't aimed at blogging, and any staffer who said that was just plain wrong. We are fine with blogging. We deliberately invited bloggers. And we provided a bank of PCs right outside the conference room hard-wired to the net.

Yikes. Another culture war, where the institution -- here the WSJ -- deems some new style of communication and social interaction the ruination of the prior Golden Age. But this is just another attack on continuous partial attention, which is, at its core, an allegiance to broadcast, mediated, unsocialized communications. In this case, the WSJ -- although you can replace it with any institution, such as a corporation laying down rules for behavior in meetings, for example -- wants full attention on the official speakers, and no side channel discussions. But in a many-to-many world, where individuals want to participate in unmediated discussions, and who believe that their social connectedness is more important and strategic than the task at hand, as a general rule, The WSJ's iron-fisted approach to stamping out back channel IMing will anger the most connected and ruin the conference for us.

Personally, I suggest a boycott of stupid, singlethread, chowderhead conferences that prohibit wireless on this basis. I am all for asking people to turn off cell phones -- the ringing and talking is annoying. But demanding that we fold our hands and pay full attention to the talking heads on the podium is nonsense.

You want to hold our attention? Get better speakers! Throw out the panel sessions and the powerpoints! Use video, and music! Practice what you are going to say, instead of hemming and hawing up there! Speak more quickly, say less and make it worth more!

Others have chimed in:

Wade Roush
[from Continuous Computing Blog: Disconnected at D3]

From this perspective, preventing Wi-Fi connectivity at a conference means depriving attendees, at least for a few hours, of their situational awareness and their connections to their productive groups. This may be justifiable, especially if audiences go into an event knowing that they'll have to disconnect. But the benefits to the speakers and organizers should be weighed against the fact that audiences will be less productive and will be cut off from the intelligence of their groups (which may even include fellow audience members, in the case of an IRC backchannel, for example).

I'm not going to argue that we deserve to drag our electronic umbilical cords everywhere. Concert halls should probably be off-limits. (And perhaps bedrooms: A startling number of people admit that if their cell phone rings during sex, they answer it.) But I believe that those who want to reach large audiences--whether at a conference or through a broadcast or a publication--will eventually have to recognize that the audience's partial attention is the best they can hope for, and the most they have a right to ask for.

More than ever, we are connected beings. Now we have to figure out, as a society, when it's proper to ask someone to disconnect--and in effect, to cut off a part of themselves.

I got the pointer to Wade here, Crumb Trail, who adds a misleading analogy between CPA and multithreaded programming of computers:

Throughput on compute intensive tasks is degraded and total throughput is degraded except in cases where there were many wait states. Time slicing and task switching allows that otherwise idle time to be used. Not all of it can be used since it takes time to switch tasks, but when the length of the wait state exceeds twice the task switch time there is an increase in throughput.

When such machines were configured wrong they ended up spending too much time in task switching - they thrashed, squandering their power on the overhead costs of task management and getting little real work done. This is more than just wasteful since it has ripple effects. It wastes the time of everyone who depends on the computer, like sitting and waiting for a web page to be served by a thrashing server or flooded network.

This is the real cost of CPA. Not only is the thrashing individual's performance lowered, so is that of everyone who engages with them. Charm school classes and time management seminars will teach methods to avoid CPA and increase fun and profit.

The problem here is -- again -- measuring the efficiency of the individual "machine", ahem, individual, as opposed to the network of connected machines as a whole. If all the nodes in a network ignore interrupts from others until they reach a wait state, individual productivity of the node may go up, breifly. That is until the node requests information from another, and is blocked: the other node is not at a wait state, and won't respond. As a result, the productitivity of the network decreases. And, on the social level -- leaving mechanistic productivity concerns aside -- opportunities to touch base, exchange social context, or build trust and obligation -- these are all lost when we put task work deadlines ahead of social purpose. If we are going to have charm schools helping people out in this regard, let's not have them forcefeed Taylorist dogma while calling it time management.

The war on Continuous Partial Attention is on: they will maintain that it is good for us, we need to be less distracted, more focused, more productive, and ultimately, happier. But those who have shifted to a social work ethic resist. Our time is truly not our own, and in a good way. We are supported by a network of partners who will pause, give advice, offer suggestions, and then return to work. Who will take a productivity hit so that we can make headway. And who fully expect us to give back, the same way.

We know the benefits of participating in a backchannel IRC during a conference panel session with various marketing weenies one-upping each other at our expense, or of replying to an IM from a client during a meeting so that hours can be saved on a critical project turnaround. And, yes, we know that old school types -- bred in the days when people worked on a single task at a time, on a single project at a time, and were responsible only for moving stuff from their inbox to their outbox (and I don't mean email) -- they are going to have a difficult time moving to a time-shifted world. But it's here, and the rest of us are living in it.

[Note: I find it strange that both Crumb Trail and Wade quote my earlier piece on CPA, but don't link to the piece. Odd.]

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May 26, 2005

Managing identity and intellectual property

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Posted by Arieanna Foley

I spent some time talking to Wes Kussmaul, CEO of The Village Group, about intellectual property and identity management. It's an area of business that is becoming increasingly important, and thus there is a lot of talk as to how best to secure and monitor access to collaboration systems.

We talked around a really interesting dilemma when it comes to securing intellectual property. How do you decide who is allowed inside the clubhouse? You not only have to decide which friends you're going to trust, but also which of their friends are allowed to tag along. Not easy, is it? When your clubhouse is your "circle of trust," it's more serious than just letting friends in. You have more at stake.

So, the key to controlling the flow of information (intellectual property) and to managing who gets access to what is enrollment. Your screening process must be controlled. You wouldn't give the keys to your office to just anyone, and the same goes with whom you choose to hire and to work with. These days, you don't just have employees. You have suppliers, contractors, advisors and more. Each of these people you work with need to be screened in the same way you do your employees. You don't want to invite your competitor into your clubhouse by mistake. Remember that not everyone who says they are "Fred from banking" will be telling the truth. You need to know, with some certainty, if Fred is being honest.

Wes points to three key ways to design an enrollment process that will reliably help me establish Fred's identity. The first two, auditing the enrollment systems of everyone in the circle of trust, and second channel verification (such as a phone call), are basic barriers from low-level threats. The third, however, poses much more potential - with much more debate. Universal ID.

Universal ID is a system that would establish Fred's ID, no matter where he was in the world. One such example of this is a PKI - Public Key Infrastructure. With the PKI, you can be assured that Fred is who he says he is. And, when it comes to managing intellectual property, you can see who has control over information. Whatever Fred had control of will be watermarked with a digital time/date-stamped signature. So, unless you have an enrollment issue of hiring people who are seriously out to steal your information, you can be reasonable assured that the PKI can manage the flow of information and restrict its access within your bounded space.

...continue reading.

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May 24, 2005

Death To All Panel Sessions

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am all conferenced out. I left the Syndicate conference half way through the first day, after Doc Searls and I wrote a few posts (see here amd here) about the endless "monetizing eyeballs" comments, but the real cause of my distress is how bad conferences are in general, not Syndicate specifically. I went for a long ramble, clearing my head and smoking a cigar, and thought about conferences.

David Weinberger and I once used the Late Show format to good effect at a conference (KM Forum in Camden Maine), where guests had a few minutes to do their schtick, and then we grilled them on the couch, and opened questions to the audience. It was fun.

But why do conferences have to be so boring?

This piece caught my eye today (free day pass requires watching an ad; pointer courtesy of the folks at SpotMe) about Brendan Barns, who is trying to shake up the staid world of pricey business conferences:

[from | Business conferences]

Almost all such conferences conform to a tired formula in which there is no conferring. There are lots of PowerPoint presentations, chocolate biscuits and nodding heads, some in silent assent, some in sleep. Delegates turn up to these dreary affairs because they get out of the office for a while, and their employer pays. When asked what's the point, many mumble about "networking". They go home with a fistful of business cards which they delude themselves will open up countless new opportunities.

Barnes managed to get Tom Peters and Richard Scase to square off in a boxing ring for a debate, complete with boxing gear.

Corante is planning to push into events in a larger way over the next year. With our great contributors, and focus on some of the most important issues in high tech and science, we have a great foundation for important events. But we can't approach it using the old, tired formulas. No more blah blah blah panels sessions, please.

The emerging modern model for events is a strange stratigraphy: the old bedrock of 19th century professional conferences supporting a thin layer of the 21st century internet culture. The skeletal system of the conference is unchanged, with far too many sessions, with far too many speakers, with far too little unstructured meandering in the halls. The industrial ethic at work: must cram in the maximum dronage! And then, like a light frosting on a heavy cake, we have conference blogging and IRC back channels projected on the wall behind the speakers' heads. A handwave at interactivity and community in a format that is overwhelmingly broadcast-oriented.

Other models are used, often with good effect, breaking into smaller working groups where attendees become more involved, and less passive, for example.

But the basic problem is the panel session. Unless the session moderator is an expert interlocutor, lamentably rare, we have a rambling, uneven, and unsatisfying walk through "what's my metaphor?" or other even less edifying conference games.

I strongly favor one-on-one interviews, which is a format that has sadly fallen out of use. As just one recent example, Sam Whitmore did a masterful job at the recent BDI "Blogging Goes Mainstream" conference, interviewing Robert Scoble, and managing the task of keeping him on topic, adriotly, without seeming to be controlling, and at the same time allowing Robert to be Robert.

I also believe that sessions are way, way too long. Like today's mass food emporiums, we have sacrificed quality for quantity, as if they are interconvertible. Fifteen minutes of David Weinberger noodling about the emergent properties of Internet connectedness, Clay Shirky demystifing the tagosphere, or Evelyn Rodriguez reanimating our sense of wonder, is far, far better than 45 minutes of ax-grinding polemicists fighting for the microphone.

We have sacrificed too much for the sake of turning the conference experience into a product. At least the very best events should be orchestrated as artistic endeavors, a form of performance, a sublime experience where we are challenged, enlarged, and made wiser. Where the chance interactions with like-minded others are not stolen moments over poor coffee. Where attendees will look back on them as turning points in their thinking, their careers, their lives.

So, a short post about Brendan Barnes has turned into a manifesto of sorts, but, you can start to see the vision we are pursuing for Corante Events, as we move forward. More to follow.

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May 18, 2005

Fear, Fear, and More Fear

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

JD Lasica points out that newspapers are staying away from blogging, because they are afraid to lose control. The NYTimes won't let writers even have personal blogs. Tim Bray relates that the day Sun decided to start blogging, they had to throw the company's communication policy out the window (and create a new one, that covers the new world order) because the company needed to get out of the way and let individuals talk with the world outside.

But this conference is brimming with fear -- not these panelists, Udell, Lasica, and Bray -- but the folks off the stage. The mainstream media folks filling the hall are hoping to make the most superficial, most minimal changes possible -- add some RSS feeds, let a few writers blog -- but otherwise, business as usual.

But I don't buy it. Wholesale change is necessary. But only a small proportion of these companies are going to make those changes, and as a result we can anticipate a pileup coming in this industry.

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May 17, 2005

Doc Searls at Syndicate

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Doc Searls credits the MSM folks at Syndicate with at least getting to the Pleistocene: past the dinosaur stage. I'm reserving judgment.

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May 07, 2005

Recordings of Les Blogs Paris

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Over at [weblog] drwxr--r--, Edwin bootlegged some recordings of the Les Blogs conference. Bad quality, but still might be interesting listening for those who couldn't make it. The text is Dutch, and I couldn't find a Dutch to English translator that led to comprehensible text [Update: Mark Wubben provides translation here]:

* Stowe Boyd, uitgever van Corante, bedruipt zijn bedrijf financieel niet door zo veel mogelijk weblogs uit te geven en op advertentieinkomsten te hopen. Boyd gebruikt zijn expertise om cursussen, advies en trainingen te geven aan bedrijven die weblogs willen beginnen (binnen of buiten de intranetmuren).

Audio downloads (MP3)

1) Keynote Joi Ito, algemeen over internet, weblogs, social software. (download MP3, 30:12 minuten)

2) BBC's Euan Semple vertelt hoe de Engelse publieke omroep weblogs, bulletin boards en wiki's gebruikt op het intranet en welke wensen hij heeft. (download MP3, 10:46 minuten)

3) Paneldiscussie 'Nanopublishing and vertical blogging'. Deelnemers: Gaby Darbyshire (Gawker Media), Jason Calacanis (Weblogsinc), Julio Alonso (Weblogs SL), Christophe Labedan (The Social Media Group), Ludovico Magnocavallo ( en Stowe Boyd (Corante). (download MP3, 1:08 uur)

4) Paneldiscussie 'Traditional media innovates and strikes back'. Deelnemers: Yann Chapellon (Le Monde), Neil McIntosh (The Guardian), Jochen Wegner (Focus Magazine), Pierre Bellanger (Skyrock/Skyblogs). (download MP3, 1:04 uur)

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May 04, 2005

True Voice: The Antihype Is Rising [From Les Blogs]

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am going to be posting the True Voice shows here, at Get Real, starting today. I felt sort of schitzophrenic posting about the topics here, but distributing elsewhere. And since I had received so little feedback about the shows, I believe that regular visitors to Get Real and Corante might not have been bumping into them.

This show is dedicated to the growing antihype arising about blogging. As I said in the introductory comments,

The axe I want to grind in this show is the rising antihype about blogging. Even though blogging was dubbed word of the year by American Heritage -- principally as an outgrowth of the high profile that bloggers got at the national republican and democratic conventions -- there's a rash of blog-bashing going on. I wrote about this last week, as a response to an antiblog article at Darwin, where, strangely enough, I used to write a monthly column on social tools, called Social Commentary. The article was entitled "Enough with Blogging Already," written by Graeme Thickins, someone I have never encountered before. In my conclusion, I noted:

"Graeme has run out all the classic parts of the Wet Blanket List: if this was important we'd be doing it already, there are better ways to do this, this is just the old stuff in new wrappings, the establishment (in this case, the old-line Communications folks) thinks this new stuff is dumb, etc. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions points out that the emergence of any new paradigm -- one that invalidates a previous worldview -- will be subjected to these sorts of attacks, independent of the actual issues that differentiate the new from the old. And, of course, those that espouse the new paradigm will be personally discredit6ed and attacked by the establishment.

I don't know who Graeme Thickins is, or what he does, but he is playing the role here of an advocate of the Media Counter-Reformation. I expect that those arguing against blogging will get increasingly strident as more businesses adopt blogging as a core element of their communications plans, and the old ways start to fall down. Jobs will be lost, careers ended, and money that historically flowed through old line PR, communications firms, and media companies will find new channels into other pockets."

At the Les Blogs conference in Paris, I decided to ask some of the other speakers about their thoughts on this subject, to see if they had started to encounter this rising tide of invective against blogs and their writers.

Joining in on this issue are Doc Searls, Lee Bryant, Darren Barefoot, and Paolo Valdemarin, all of whom were speakers with me at Les Blogs.

To hear the show, either click[here], or use the new Feedburner RSS feed below (automatically encapsulates audio files for use with podcasting applications, like iPodder). [update: having some trouble with Feedburner. Use with your podcasting app.]

True Voice is a production of Corante.

Our premier sponsor is Silkroad technology: Easy to use, robust and secure, Silkblogs is the choice of business bloggers.

True Voice is also sponsored by Nooked.

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May 03, 2005

Heading to Blogging Goes Mainstream

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

On the train en route to NYC, for the Blogging Goes Mainstream conference, hosted by Business Development Institute, and a long list of great speakers. If you can't attend, I think PR Newswire is streaming the audio out for $125.

I plan to corner various people on the conformist pressures on bloggers, as the basis of an upcoming True Voice show. Apropos of the recent New York Times article by Tom Zeller (see here), this topic truly aggravates me. Individual free expression must continue, and the whole social media vanguard should continue to howl about it.

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April 25, 2005

True Voice: What I Plan For Les Blogs

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Wandering around at Les Blog, I will be pursing the topic of "The Blogging Antihype Begins" -- more or less following up on the themes I touched on in the Enough With Blogging Already post the other day. I think that a rising tide of invective is imminent: just as blogging becomes a household word, we are going to see an instantaneous and seemingly spontaneous antihype against blogging. I am going to find other data points, I hope.

Rather than doing another panel session for my next True Voice show, I will be doing a monologue after the conference with sound bites that I am recording here in Paris. I am a little tired with the panel format so I presume other people are too.

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Les Blogs, Paris (Sort Of)

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

The idea to hold the Les Blogs conference in the French Senate building is backfiring -- a very compressed schedule has now been hosed because of security measures in the building. We were filing in in small groups, having IDs checked, and passing through a metal detector. It is now almost 9:45am, and we are just beginning.

And worst of all: no coffee drinking allowed!

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April 15, 2005

Les Blogs in Paris

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I will be making a preposterously short trip to Paris a for the upcoming Les Blogs conference. A great group of people, and I am particularly eager to see various Europeans that I haven't seen in months (Euan Semple, Lee Bryant, Paolo Valdemarin, and Loic LeMeur), as well as various others who are making the trek (Joi Ito, Ross Mayfield, Halley Suitt, and Doc Searls, to name only a few). I am planning to record a True Voice show while there, and it looks like I will have no shortage of people to collar for that.

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March 29, 2005

True Voice: Peter Quintas and Peter Kaminski at the Innovation Summit

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

My most recent True Voice show is available at IT Conversations. I chatted with Peter Quintas, CTO of Silkroad technology, and Peter Kaminski, CTO and Founder of Socialtext at the Innovation Summit in Atlanta, held by the American Cancer Society: Non-Profits Blogging.

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March 22, 2005

March 14, 2005

March 08, 2005

MeshForum Registration is Open

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Shannon Clark pinged me today about MeshForum, an event we are supporting as a media sponsor, scheduled for 1-4 May in Chicago:

MeshForum's mission is to bring together and connect networks - around the subject of networks. Our conferences will offer an interdisciplinary forum for the cross-fertilization of ideas, expertise, and experiences. On the web we are working on pulling together resources - lists of experts and researches, biobliographies, organizations working in and researching Networks, events and more. We are exploring other options to further foster and support research across boundries into Networks - these may include in the future a peer reviewed journal, invited guest bloggers, podcasts of MeshForum 2005, and other means to share and spread information.

The registration page is here.

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March 07, 2005

True Voice T-Shirts

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am thinking about putting in an order for some t-shirts for the True Voice series. Black with white lettering. Here's two different fonts with the same message.

Scrawl Font

Drafthand Font

Please click on the poll to let me know which you like better. The t-shirts will be $17.50 plus shipping, if you are interested (email me if you want to buy one).

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True Voice: Darren Barefoot and Jeremy Wright

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am happy to announce that the first True Voice show being syndicated through ITConversations is available for download. I spoke with Darren Barefoot and Jeremy Wright at the recent NorthernVoice conference in Vancouver on the topic of The Profession of Blogging.

Darren Barefoot and Jeremy Wright

True Voice's premiere sponsor is

True Voice is also sponsored by

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February 03, 2005

Evelyn Rodriquez on the "Brand as Promise" v "Brand as Invitation" Debate

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Evelyn Rodriguez looks into the debate about brand = promise versus brand = invitation, based on various discussions from last week's New Communications Forum:

[from An Invitation to Purpose-Driven Marketing]

During the Branding and Blogging Panel, Stowe Boyd speaks up from the audience reiterating his stance, "A brand isn't a promise, it's an invitation."

The brand is a promise and the brand is an invitation debate rear its head again.

She goes on to explore the 'branding' in American religious circles today, pointing out that religious organizations and corporations are alike in their attempts to fill our need to belong to something, as a way to derive meaning from the world. She goes on:

Marketers and corporate communicators alike are inquiring into this 'belonging' need. Andy Lark's insightful keynote (in my opinion, it was hands down the best session in four days of business blog conferencing, BBS and NCF inclusive [I agree]; slides here) contemplates the disruptively massive changes in media and communications and asks us if something deeper is going on. "People are wanting to be part of a community, wanting to belong, wanting to join." In many ways. he says, Fast Company's founding premise was prescient, "We are declaring: 'I want to be part of something more meaningful.'" And there is a world of difference in communicating to an audience (transmit) and a community (engage and participate).
This is again the core of True Voice, a term I lifted from the Support Economy and the work of the social psycologist Englehart. The rise of social brands -- through social media -- is driven by our need to push aside the control of large, impersonal organizations, and participate in the essence of invitational brands: to define ourselves and find meaning through our involvement in the implicit communities of use surrounding products and services.

This is not just another way of looking at self-identification by class, or economic bracket, or being in the in crowd. It is a direct expression of an emergent, bottom-up exploration of our relationships to each other and our purpose in the world, where the goods and services we acquire and apply become a medium, in effect, where we interact with others.

Perhaps no better example of this invitational branding exists than the iPod, where we can not only share the superficial association of being cool, but the way that the product has grown to create a world of shared experience: I can share my playlists with my friends and the wide world, I can post the last song I played on my IM status, and, now, the new trend of spontaneous iPodjacking.

In the future, all commerce, and all brands, will have to become totally socialized to be viable.

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January 31, 2005

Photos from Blog Business Summit

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I found this picture today, of the True Voice session with Robert Scoble, Greg Narain, and me, courtesy of Nick Fink and Flikr.

bbs scoble narain boyd.jpg

Also, I sat in on Greg's Beercasting, and Boris Mann caught me:


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Platonic Love

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I return from a wild and wonderful week of conference mania, and I am more or less stunned from the experience. Not so much the late nights, the travel, and the shock to the system that conferences can be, but the impact of people's writing. Plato said that writing is the geometry of the soul, and I have triangulated myself into the souls of a long list of amazing people, now in my growing inner circle. I feel enlarged and exhilarated by exposure to their thoughts and insights.

First, I attended the Blog Business Summit, where I met a lot of new friends, like Chris Pirillo, Jon Husband, Evelyn Rodriguez, Jennifer Rice, and Biz Stone, as well as rubbing elbows with old buddies like Halley Suitt, Greg Narain, Alex Williams, Robert Scoble, and dozens of others. The BBS was a big success and the True Voice session with Robert Scoble and Greg Narain on "the business of blogging" had fifty or more people in attendence (I posted it on Friday). Halley and I had a lot of fun doing a joint session, True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing. There is audio from the presentation that I will get from Steve Brobeck and company laetr this week, I hope. I will post the presos at the same time.

I swooped down to Napa (after spending a wonderful evening with Ted and Molly Rheingold in SF) for the New Communications Forum conference. More time with Evelyn Rodriguez, who also attended, as well as first exposure to Andy Lark, who is a force of nature packaged in human form. Other notable people and events at NCF: the wonderful panelists for the True Voice session, there, including Torsten Jacobi of Creative Weblogging, Julie Woods of Cymphony, Fergus Burns of Nooked, Michael Sippey of SixApart, and Mike Lombardo of Newsgator. I plan to post that session later today, after editing it.

It will take me weeks to assimilate all the interactions and potential for collaboration -- yes, I did manage to snag a bunch of Corante contributors on this tour. Much, much more to follow.

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January 28, 2005

True Voice: The Business of Blogging with Robert Scoble

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

At the Blog Business Summit in Seattle on the 24th, I hosted a session on the business of blogging with Robert Scoble as my guest and co-hosted by Get Real contributor Greg Narian. Robert had keynoted earlier in the day, but in this conversational setting, I think Robert's insights are more accessible.

MP3 File

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January 20, 2005

The Making of "The Get Real Show"

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

So, I am glad to have the first Get Real show behind me. It was a messy business, with a lot of moving parts. The panelists were great, and even though we had some last minute change of plans, that was relatively smooth. But the various technologies I was trying to use -- teleconference service, Audioblog, bluetooth earphone, cell phone recording, bluetooth handsfree conference call gizmo, iPod recording -- conspired against me at every turn.

I really like my new cellphone, a Sony Ericsson T637, and the bluetooth capabilities seemed to be a way to avoid even more wires in my life. However, a series a problems arose, based on the intersection of the various components:

  • During the show, we had Audioblog running, and that service (which otherwise works great) has one glitch: any key that you touch leads to terminating the audio recording. So, therefore, you have to conference in Audioblog as the last step, and then subsequently not touch any keys.
  • I was using my Motorola M820 bluetooth earphone, which has the best recording quality of any phone in my office. But, it has the unforseen "feature" of timing out the audio if you don't speak after five minutes -- an event that did not arise during any testing. To redirect speaking to the headset, it is a simple selection on the cell phone -- which leads to terminating the Audioblog. Which is exactly what happened.
  • I also have a record capability built right into the T637, but you need to turn it on after a call has started, and -- you guessed it -- touching any key turns it off.
  • I thought that I could use a Motorola M800 bluetooth handsfree conference call gizmo, rather than the headphone, but whenever I did so some inaudible whine led to terrible sound quality with any recording tool I have -- most obviously with my iPod using a Belkin plugin for recording voice memos. That plugin works pretty well when sitting at a table with other people, but it is horrible for recording from speaker phone of any sort. So that is out.
  • I looked into using Skype or Vonage Softphone on my Mac, but any audio capture tools I could discover only pull the audio out channel. There are apparently some folks who have gotten this to work on the PC (according to Stuart Henshall's blog) but the Mac technology is not as advanced, apparently. I hope that Apple just comes out with a solution.

In the final analysis, the disconnect between telephony and audio seems almost intractable. I intend in the future -- whenever recording via phone -- to

  1. avoid using my bluetooth headset -- despite the fact that it sounds best -- because of the timeout issue
  2. for short calls with one or two people (less than 30 mins) I'll use the built-in record capability on my phone
  3. for longer calls or those involving multiple people or longer duration, I will use Audioblog recording (although I hope Eric will fix that UI problem where any keystroke leads to ending the recording).

Wish me luck!

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January 19, 2005

The Coming Real Time Revolution

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

[These are the prepared notes for my introductory remarks for yesterday's Get Real Show, largely derived form a report I wrote for Cutter a few years ago, called Time to Get Real: Growing the Real Time Enterprise
(still seems fresh though). The audio is accessible here.]

To imagine a zero latency organization – with near frictionless communication between applications and people – you have to grapple with an even more difficult idea: a network of companies, linked through a cascade of commercial transactions and communications, which all together represents a real time meta-enterprise.

Truly, no company can become real time enabled in isolation. And as individual companies seek to improve their operations through the operational application of real time techniques and technology, they will find that the biggest payoffs come from the touch points with partners, suppliers, and customers. The net effect of these thousands or millions of partial solutions is a social transformation, as the business economy moves from traditional, slow-time operational models, to a revolutionary real time footing.

The real time organization is not a starry-eyed quest for the unattainable, even though squeezing out the last iota of latency in every business process and interaction is an unachievable goal. It’s an adjustment to a new economic context, where new survival strategies will need to be tested, refined, and applied, and where much of what worked before will not only become obsolete, but dangerous. Business processes and market positioning based on the premises of even a few years ago could spell disaster today, in many sectors. The economics of real time business will require a reassessment of sources of value, and areas of risk.

What are some of the features of this new real time landscape? Even without introducing the more esoteric, controversial, and complex elements of my rants from the past few years, I can enumerate a short list of principles driving the move toward the real time enterprise:

  1. Today’s performance enhancements will largely come from cross-enterprise communication improvements, rather than the internal improvements of the past decades. Companies have invested billions to soup up internal processes, but they will need to revisit those processes again.
  2. Real time communication is not just slow-time communication sped up. Linking applications and people around the concept of zero latency means that processes and applications will have to be rethought, rebuilt, or -- in some cases -- jettisoned. There is a qualitative shift in how things work when they’re moved to a real time basis, independent of the quantitative benefits of doing things faster.
  3. Real time principles are applicable in all contexts. Analysts who suggest that companies that don’t compete “on speed” are missing the point. There is a qualitative change in all operations of a company when it’s organized around real time principles, not just a quantitative one. Even those who compete on customer intimacy or engineering excellence can cut costs, increase customer satisfaction, and increase innovation through the ‘side effects’ of applying real time techniques and technologies.
  4. Real time organizations will be much more tightly linked to their commercial ecosystems to reduce the risks associated with market volatility, and to gain better information about market trends. Connectedness has its dark side, since tighter links means more volatility because of synchronization across the ecosystem: we have to relearn how to react in such a brave new world.
  5. There will be much more communication going on in the real time organization, but fewer wasted communication, and less store-and-forward mechanisms. Many researchers suggest that as much as 40% of all business phone calls lead to voice mail, for example. This is a glaring waste of time and money. Likewise, we will see much less e-mail, nightly batch files, and weekly inventory updates, but more direct, synchronous communication between applications and between people. We will soon look back on today’s style of business communication and wonder how it ever worked at all.
  6. Perhaps the most disruptive factor of the real time revolution is presence, the Siamese twin of instant messaging. Instant messaging has exploded upon the world, growing to more than half a billion users. It is, however, still considered a teenager’s toy by many in the IT community, which is both silly and pointless. As Ed Simnett of Microsoft pointed out, those teenagers are entering the workforce today with the assumption that instant messaging is productive, cheap, and ubiquitous, not a novelty to be analyzed, but simply a tool to be used. The idea of presence – the ability to know if an agent is available to communicate – is being carried forward into group and corporate scope and past the ‘buddy list’ of today’s consumer IM networks, and will change business communication almost beyond recognition as presence is threaded into everything – every app, every phone, every device, every part on the warehouse shelf.
  7. The Internet has become the Petri dish in which we’re creating a new business culture, and we’re entering the exponential tail of the value curve due to the connectedness that modern information technologies offer to business. The real time Internet that is emerging through several key technologies – higher bandwidth, wireless connectivity, voice-over-IP, and instant messaging/presence – that are amplifying the potential for creating more and richer social groups.
  8. The value of the network has risen exponentially, and extracting that value requires mobilizing around real time Internet technologies. The means to tap the exponential value growth of the real time revolution is through real time communities – social groups linked through real time technologies. Integration of legacy applications or processes, even across enterprises linked together in complex value chains, will only yield linear returns on investment. This is a course that has been followed for years, and while the results are positive, they are limited. However, exponential value growth comes from the reorganization of cross-enterprise operations around support for real time communities – social groups organized around specific activities or functions. Rethinking applications and processes to support the needs of these meta-enterprise social groups will be the path to achieving and tapping this exponential value.
  9. All this means a new model for enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture has been approached in recent years as a means to automate the business processes within a company, and perhaps to integrate with the business processes of other companies. The new model for enterprise architecture will be driven by the goal of supporting social processes across the meta-enterprise, which will require not only new technologies (such as web services, mobile connectivity, and instant messaging), but a radical departure in how we architect systems. The platforms being rolled out by the companies on our panel today will form the basis of future real time enterprise architecture, but global services – global identity authentication and presence services, for example – will be threaded into every company’s architecture as well, so that social groups can be formed in real time, on demand, allowing teams of companies to respond collectively to real time events on the fly.
  10. Operating in the new real time economy will be in many ways an extension of what we already know, but will also require the adoption of a new mindset, and a new set of management principles. In the past 10 years, we have witnessed a decision-making shift from “the center” or “the top” (centralized management) to “the edge” or “the bottom” (front-line managers and team members). This trend will accelerate as real time technologies come online and disrupt the corporate reporting topology. As such, senior management’s role will increasingly shift from time-based decision making (responsive decision making in the face of opportunities or threats) toward space-based decision making. By space here, I’m speaking figuratively, as in choosing the markets or market niches in which to operate, the bases upon which to compete, the alliances to structure, and so on. But space is not just an externally focused, macro-economic dimension; it also has an internal side. The other critical role for management is inward-focused: supporting the capacity of the organization to support rich social groups; to, in essence, create an environment in which the organization can monitor and respond to threats and opportunities effectively. And “effectively” will come to quickly mean “in real time.” The mechanism of monitoring and response will be much more fluid social groups, created in some cases on the fly to respond to real time events. This will be the end of the organization chart as we have known it. The lessons of successful online communities will change the way organizations work and how cross-enterprise work is accomplished. Management is being shown the path to a better way to manage for the real-time era we are entering.

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January 13, 2005

December 27, 2004

True Voice: Revamping the Tour

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Over the past few months, I have written a number of times about the True Voice projects (here, here, and here, for example).

We have had a really strong response to the 20 Questions project that forms a key element of True Voice. We have had around 200 responses to the questions from people like Robert Scoble, Ed Brill, Doc Searls, and dozens of others, and we will be assimilating the comments, and synthesizing it over the next two weeks.

Our intention with True Voice has been to get out on the road, meet with people who are struggling with these sorts of questions around the business of blogging, and to use the planned seminars as a means to interact with aspiring bloggers, either as individuals, or representatives of organizations or companies.

Last week, after wrestling with a number of opportunities for collaborating with other organizations, I decided to revamp the structure of the True Voice tour. Rather than running our own seminars in various cities, we are working with other organizations to embed the True Voice tour into other blog conferences. I am happy to say that we will be collaborating with Avondale, the folks organizing the Blog Business Summit, 24-25 Jan 2005 in Seattle.

  • We will be holding a True Voice webcast there, most likely at 12pm PT 24 Jan 2005. I will be inviting a few of the prominent bloggers speaking at the conference to address the theme of the conference: the business of blogging. Information on how to register for the webcast will be posted here at at Corante Events later this week.
  • A second True Voice event has been threaded into the conference: a session called "True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing" scheduled for 4:30 pm PT 24 Jan 2005.
  • Corante readers will be getting a serious discount on attending the conference: $395 instead of the full $795. Please email me at if you are interested in that discount.

I am in discussions with several other conference organizers regarding subsequent True Voice events in February, March, and beyond. It is my hope to visit cities all over North America, Europe, and perhaps later 2005 even Asia. The format will be a combination of webcast and workshop, exploring and refining the themes of the 20 Questions project.

We are committed to the virtual workshop approach that I outlined a few weeks ago, here:

One of the key elements of True Voice is an on-going six week virtual workshop, after each seminar, where the True Voice team will work with seminar attendees on their blogging plans and content. We will be providing a free blog account for those without (courtesy of Silkroad) for three months following the seminar. But perhaps most interesting: we will review the results of all seminar attendees' workshop participation -- whether corporate, group, or individual -- and at the end of six weeks we are planning to select one of the attendees for some higher level of support:
  1. If we select a worthy corporate attendee, we will provide a no-charge day of advisory services to help them create an action plan for rolling forward with what has thus far been prototyped in the six weeks of virtual workshop.
  2. If we select a non-commercial group or organization, we will work with them as the producer of their blog: we will host it, perhaps help them find sponsors, and promote it through the Corante blog network.
  3. Lastly, if we select an individual blogger, we will offer the opportunity to become a Corante Contributor, either in a wholly new blog (such as our new city blog series), or as a contributor to an existing Corante blog.

So you have more options to get involved with True Voice and the 20 Questions project. We will be touring major cities, collaborating with the convenors of conferences like Blog Business Summit, running web casts, interviews, and embedded workshop sessions. Please stay tuned for more options and announcements.

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December 06, 2004

True Voice Seminars: Three Reasons You Should Get Involved

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I had a few conversations last week with very interesting folks about the upcoming True Voice (The Business of Blogging) seminars. That, along with a low-grade flu and lack of sleep, led to a couple of really cool ideas that go a long way toward making becoming involved much more than a one-time day-long event.

First off, while Suw Charman (of Strange Attractor and Chocolate and Vodka), Greg Narain (of Get Real and Social Twister), and I have a lot of experience and interesting notions about the business of blogging, we are part of a much larger network of smart people, who have a myriad of views on the subject. [I was struck by the "Why Do I Blog" meme last week, thanks to Frank Paynter, which led to this idea.] So I am going to ask a few dozen colleagues to get involved in a short project over the next few weeks: 20 Questions related to the Business of Blogging. I invite anyone who would like to offer a question to do -- but no answers yet. I will be launching a new blog with the 20 questions later this week, and then will be soliciting answers from our extended network of talented bloggers.

The second thing that we are doing with the seminars is community-oriented: as soon as you register you will become part of a community of other attendees. We will be outfitting every registrant with access to the ongoing discussion about the seminar content, as well as access to the 20 questions project. This membership will extend through the end of 2005. We intend to collate the outcome of the 20 Questions project into some book-like form, and distribute to attendees, as well.

The third thing we are doing with the seminars is really different. We know that a lot of the people who are thinking about business blogging are looking to get more than a powerpoint deck and a few hours of hand-waving. In particular,

  • we believe that companies are likely to send a representative or two to the seminar in order to get a plan of action in place for internal or external blogging.
  • Groups or organizations may come to the seminar to learn how blogging can support their social activism or non-profit activities.
  • Individuals may be coming to learn how to gain influence, or build a larger readership, or drive ad sales, and thereby create a sustainable business as a consultant, writer, or analyst.

One of the key elements of True Voice is an on-going six week virtual workshop, after each seminar, where the True Voice team will work with seminar attendees on their blogging plans and content. We will be providing a free blog account for those without (courtesy of Silkroad) for three months following the seminar. But perhaps most interesting: we will review the results of all seminar attendees' workshop participation -- whether corporate, group, or individual -- and at the end of six weeks we are planning to select one of the attendees for some higher level of support:
  1. If we select a worthy corporate attendee, we will provide a no-charge day of advisory services to help them create an action plan for rolling forward with what has thus far been prototyped in the six weeks of virtual workshop.
  2. If we select a non-commercial group or organization, we will work with them as the producer of their blog: we will host it, perhaps help them find sponsors, and promote it through the Corante blog network.
  3. Lastly, if we select an individual blogger, we will offer the opportunity to become a Corante Contributor, either in a wholly new blog (such as our new city blog series), or as a contributor to an existing Corante blog.

Our interest isn't to just have a seminar, but to structure meetings that matter; to create a context around those meetings that is highly engaging and enduring. While we are charging $295 for the seminar, its really much, much more than a few hours of involvement. It includes a six week virtual workshop, and the opportunity to be selected out of the 30 or so attendees to have an even deeper and more strategic interaction with the True Voice team.

In a spirit of disclosure, let me say that, yes, Corante is constantly on the search for new talent, interesting projects, and corporations looking for advice. This is not all altruistic. But at the same time we want to help those just starting out or trying to get more serious and structured in blogging.

Please contact me with any questions, either of the 20 Questions variety or for clarification.

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November 09, 2004

Dave Winer on Bloggercon and The "Making Money" Session

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Dave Winer obliquely responds to the "What's Wrong with Bloggercon" post, I think. Since he doesn't name me or link to the post, I am making a presumption, although as he points out there is an email thread going about this, and I have been in communcation with him about this, so that makes it seem likely.

Dave Winer
[from Scripting News: 11/9/2004]

There's an email thread going on about the Making Money session. This was the second episode, in the first, Jeff Jarvis did an excellent job of leading a chorus of nickel-and-dimers. In other words, how can we turn blogs into mini-magazines, generating enough revenue to make us feel good about what we're doing. (My paraphrase, of course.) This is a hot topic. It was also at hot topic at this Con, but I played a little trick by choosing a DL who I knew would argue with this idea, a person who has written a book on it, a popular one, so there would be some disagreement in the room. When I walked in, mid-session, I could see my little plan hadn't worked, Doc was in front of the room fielding comments from people who really really want to think small. So I asked for a mike, and I argued with two or three people (who seemed to enjoy it). Anyway, now there's some irritation because it seemed we were trying to force our way of thinking on the people. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, we, Doc and I, were disagreeing with them, and that's what makes a conference interesting. And unusual. Usally there's a sameness to discourse at conferences that makes you fall asleep. So even if I agreed that putting Google ads on your blog was the best you could do, I would have looked for a way to incite some disagreement. Now if you think this is wrong, BloggerCon is not the place for you, and probably blogging is not a good thing for you either. You're going to get disagreed with, sometimes even when you're right. And that's a good thing. If you're always surrounded by people who agree with you, you never get a chance to change someone's mind, never get a chance to learn something new, to have your mind changed.

Hmmm. The Venus Flytrap approach, eh? A session called Making Money with a "little trick" built-in, intended to trip up those of us who "really want to think small" which I guess means those who want to make money by blogging.

At any rate: I did enjoy the discourse, just as I am enjoying this interchange, and I thought the divergence of opinion at the session was illuminating. I just suggest that the debate should be elevated at a structural level, namely, structure the sessions as debates when there are obvious divisions in opinion.

Again: I am happy to see disagreement surfaced, and controversy openly addressed. Bloggercon may not be, in fact, for all people. I believe that those who want to talk about making money by blogging, as opposed to the philosophical and moral issues surrounding that, will have to go elsewhere. Fine.

But the clear inference to be drawn from Dave's commentary is that those "small minded" people who disagree with his pedagological tactics should stay away. Dave definitely wants to tell us what is good for us, which in small doses is ok. But the frisson between Dave's control of the conference discourse and the desires of the attendees to talk about what is of interest to them came close to boiling over several times. And as Dave pointedly told one attendee, who stated that he would like to loosen certain restrictions that Dave has made on free and open discourse (specifically having to do with the non-commercialism of the event leading to a gag order on nearly anyone employed by a "vendor"): "it isn't your conference." By extension, it isn't our conference either. It is the conference, I guess, for some set of naive users who Dave would like to paternalistically sheild from dangerous ideas of pernicious vendors, like PubSub and Technorati, representatives of which were singled out and censured for trying to state their personal or corporate views on various issues. I hazard that in the future, representatives of media companies (like Corante) will likely find their way into the ranks of the gagged, as well.

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November 08, 2004

What's Wrong With Bloggercon

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I had an enjoyable day at Bloggercon, held at the Stanford Law School Saturday last, despite the conference itself.

Dave Winer claims that the format of the conference is designed so that the good conversations are in the sessions and not in the hallways, but the best conversations for me were in the hallways and out on the lawn, as is generally the case at any conference.

The format is problematic in reality. A lone session moderator begins with a presentation of various ideas on the topic, and then a free-for-all ensues, where the 50 to 250 people in the group raise their hands, ask a question, elaborate on some issue, or whatever. Often, you might have to wait 10 minutes or more to actually get to speak on some topic now 10 minutes cold.

However, Winer and the other conference insiders reserve the right to break into the flow of the sessions, and so Scoble, Searls, Steve Gillmor, and the like seem often to be having their conversation in the session and not the halls, but not everybody else.

Personally, I am not opposed to the seemingly undemocratic nature of this outcome. I believe that the quality of the conversation between these A-Listers is actually more illuminating than the "gee whiz, I'm just glad to be here" statements coming from the newbies. My recommendation would be to, however, salt the mix with more powerful dissenters and structure the latent debates inherent in the sessions so that the various points of view can come to light, and just drop the pretense that all utterances are equally worthy.

For example, I love Doc Searls, but starting a session on "Making Money" at Bloggercon by questioning the validity of that intent is off message. As a result, the session about making mony turned out to be another philosophical discussion about the core values of the Internet, or stated more negatively, a session where the strong subliminal message was "Don't Make Money Blogging, Please."

This was best typified by a interchange between Dave Winer and Chris Nolan (Politics From Left To Right), a political blogger who simply wants to get to the point where she can live on her blogging. Winer's position was that this is basically wrong-headed; she should use the blogosphere to mix and mingle, and other opportunities to make money would appear. For example, she could get paid for writing elsewhere, presumably by more traditional media, or books. Nolan's response was she didn't want to write elsewhere, where she would have to deal with editorial supervision or controls. Then Winer spun into A-Lister fantasy land, arguing that the purpose of blogging is to have people come together and invent new businesses, not to get paid to blog; and that anything short of that grander purpose was somehow counter to the spirit of blogging, and perhaps both dangerous and immoral. Nolan pointed out that she hasn't landed a book deal, although she would like one, but independent of that she is still selling ads.

A great quip from Brendon Wilson ( underscored the elephant in the room: there is a world outside the blogospheric core of idealistic early adopters who cling to some sort of money-free purity, and that's where true economic value will be determined. Wilson pointed out that he is an author, and for each $35 sale of his book at Amazon, he receives like $1.50 in royalties. However, as an Amazon affiliate he receives $3.50 per sale coming through his website.

In a world where information is increasingly low cost, people's attention is increasingly valuable. If you can snare that attention -- because your blog is high quality, and through the inexorable powerlaws it grows more and more eyeballs -- the extra-blogosphere economy will value you and your blog highly. But the value has to be extracted by something, and if you don't charge people to read it, you have to charge someone for eyeball capture.

Winer and Searls suggest that the way to capitalize on that value should not be direct, but indirect: start businesses (like Winer), get higher paying jobs (like Searls and Scoble), or become media personalities (like Curry). Nolan and others (like me) believe that it is fair game to simply convert relevance to a community of interest into cash flow. Here at Corante, we plan to invent some innovative ways of doing it, over and above renting rectangles to sponsors, but nonetheless we believe that is legitimate and doesn't break some Covenant of Bloggerdom.

Essentially, the conference founders are perfectly transparent and open about their perspectives, so I have only admiration for them in that regard. But I suggest that they consider a point/counterpoint approach where the dynamics would be more interesting. At a nuts-and-bolts level, the format doesn't work, despite all the self-congratulatory back patting at the end of the conference. In particular, Winer's insistence that this is a "user" conference where vendors really cannot speak -- he nearly ejected Bob Wyman of PubSub, who was in mid sentence about something I thought was fairly innocuous -- is an increasingly difficult stance to keep, especially when his goal is to foster collaboration between the participants to create new businesses and products.

So, from my perspective, Bloggercon is more of a fan conference, where the followers of the conference insiders -- great minds all, admittedly -- can come and bask in the philosophical musings of these titans. Its Dave and the Friends of Dave having a love-in. Its fun in a way, because the conversations at the party are high quality, but its not a conference about the business of blogging or even one about where it is all headed. Its really a chatauqua, a revival tent meeting, where the faithful can all sing together and encourage the uncertain. But its fun to listen, even if you don't agree with the message in the psalms, because they sing so well.

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October 22, 2004

Reminder: Microsoft Office LiveMeeting Business Interest Seminar - Instant Messaging in The Attention Economy

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

A reminder that on Tuesday, 26 Oct, 9am PT, I will be presenting a webinar called "Instant Messaging and the Attention Economy" courtesy of the nice folks at Microsoft (click here for more info and registration).

It going to be an hour, with me blabbing for 30 mins, 15 mins of dialog with the host, William Flash, and then 15 mins of Q&A.

I hear that like 100+ folks have signed up.

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October 14, 2004

Jabber on Wall Street

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Highlights from the Jabber on Wall Street event today:

Navin Rajapakse, Vice President, Global Architecture and Engineering, Lehman Brothers
Lehman made the decision to adopt Jabber two years ago. We had Mindalign (Parlano), as well as several homegrown IM solutions. We had various non-communicating islands of IM.

We also wanted to be able to communicate remotely, with people working outside the building. So they opened up to AOL and Yahoo. Soon, we grew concerned about that, and wanted more control, but still needed to talk with the public networks.

The requirements led to a bake off between IBM/Lotus Sametime and Jabber. The customization of Jabber's client was significantly easier. On the server side, we evaluated the flexibility of Jabber, and adopted various open source modules.

And in the final analysis, the Jabber solution was more cost effective.

TIBCO is the company's enterprise application integration framework, and Jabber seemed relatively easy to integrate there.

We had a need to develop self-service 'bots, and Jabber offered an easy way to do that.

And we had to meet various SEC requirements on privacy, security, and auditability.

[presents tiered architecture: notes that today, Lehman is not taking advantage of server-to-server capability]

We have integrated a generalized notion of presence that can be included into other applications, and we have presence enabled our directory.

Used an early version of the Jabber web client, but the Win32 client was more critical to Lehman's use.

While the 1:1 chat was solid, there were various features needed for roll-out of group chat, which Jabber rolled out in a few months time.

Now, in use at 80%-90% of the company.

We have SEC compliant escrowing and retrieval of all IM messages as needed.

We have eliminated other IM solutions, and have integrated 20 or 30 applications taht are using Jabber as an alert mechanism.

We have integrated with LehmanLive, directory, security and reporting services.

2,000-9,500 concurrent users. All over the globe, and even during the weekend, so we need to be up 24X7.

3-3.5 M messages per week, which includes IM and chat.

Launched early part of last year: it is considered a tier 1, mission critical application, like email.

Different groups have different modes. Like the equities guys who use a chat room to swap deal information.

On the equities side, we have set up chat rooms, like foreign exchange.

We have extended the client and chat in several ways. For example, we integrated voice, so you can right click on a buddy, and it will dial.

We decided to pick a protocol, XMPP, and go with it, even though the market has not settled that protocol war.

Issues with compliance with AOL and various consortium based IM clients were problematic. We decided to go with an 80/20 rule, and use Jabber, and let the other issues fall to the side for now.

Most important, we ensured SEC compliance.

Question: How much monthly maintenance? Have you considered a hosted solution?

A: We don't have a dedicated team, we have an operations staff that handle it. Its nearly a zero maintenance, except for upgrades.

Question: How builds the applications that integrate with Jabber?

A: We built a TIBCO bridge, so our application developers are experienced in building to that.

Question: How do make sure the apps don't crush the Jabber system?

A: We have a Karma system that tracks message rates, and quickly resolve any issues.

Jeremy Condie, SVP, Thomson Financial
Whay are we here, at a conference about Jabber?

I am a senior VP for Thomson Financial, and I am architect for our collaboration and communication systems.

What is Thomson Financial? We are one of the three largest financial information services, we are the largest provider of information to banks, for eample. We are better known for our brands, which are now being united into a single framework: Thomson ONE.

Collaboration is central to our business. We are moving beyond providing information. If you are a banker, a trader, an analyste, we are going to help you collaborate better.

Our strategy is based on helping our clients to gain mindshare, so that they will get the phone call at 2am from a customer.

We are focused on inproving user's workflow, and of course, that means we have to integrate with what they have on their desktop.

We are not building a proprietary IM system, we are incorporating a successful and proven instant messaging infrastructure from an innovator. That means we are leveraging ROI, minimize user disruption, and rapidly get productivity for our clients.

Being informed is not enough; until you impart that content to a client, it doesn't benefit you. How can you make sure that you are up with the moment on ionformation that is critical for clients. Is that already priced into the market?

Thomson has bought nearly every information company out there. We have an infinite degree of content. When we created Thomson ONE, we didn't make a single solution. You can configure your desktop with what you want, and all the components plug-and-play, and communicate with each other. We have integrated Jabber int he same way.

For example, if I am tracking some datum about Qualcomm, I could bring up various research and real time feeds about Qualcomm. So I can know before my client asks. And you can confirm in real time using Jabber.

Where's the edge in financial services? You need to gain an edge through a deeper insight rather than faster typing speed.

What about extending the IM environment to your customers? You can filter the information as needed, but you could present an IM window on the client's desktop where you could be sharing certain information. Whether its a banker, or an analyst, or a bond trader.

This is pushing the boundaries a bit, but this is where we see it heading.

David Fowler, VP Marketing and Alliances, IMlogic
No one uses email without spam filters; the same sort of management has to be applied to IM.

Companies have to get past the denial stage of IM; you can't seriously contemplate turning it off. A recent study showed that bond traders that use IM make 500K more per year than those that don't.

Today, use of public IM is still the majority in the market. But we see a trend in the market toward enterprise solutions, like Jabber. But we will see them running side by side for a long time to come.

First problem when we go into an organization, they don't don't really know what's going on. They don't which IM systems are used, who is doing file transfers, and what identities are being used.

Second, IM tools tunnel through your firewall, and there are a number of security problems: viruses, for example.

Third, there are legal risks. A large amount of sexual content is streaming aorund; and just the institution of archiving will curtail that, as well as keeping track of commitments in deals, for example.

Last, we need to avoid IT headaches -- like integrating with LDAP.

How do we manage IM? We act as the proxy, running side by side with your enterprise IM system, and control the interface with the public networks. We can map identities, and control the various features: if you want to disallow file transfers, for example, we can do that.

And obviously, we support compliance: archival, retention, discovery, supervisory, surveillance, and entitlement requirements.

How does this all fit together? It is likely that you are using a public IM system today, and considering moving to an enterprise IM system, like Jabber. We recommend that you take a long look at Jabber, and think about putting

Q: How do you integrae with existing archive solutions?

A: We have relationships with Legato, KBS, and other archive solutions.

Q: Is there a certain size company that would best fit this solution?

A: We have groups as small as 10, and up to thousands. Small comapnies sometime try to sneak by, but the cost is so small it is not worth the risk.

Paul Guerin, SVP Sales and Marketing, Jabber
We see the financial services industry as a hotbed of collaboration and communication. We see the power of presence as the keystone of the next generation of applications, and the business processes that are core to the industry.

I want to thank you all for coming, and we hope you will come to other events in this seminar series, as well as our webinar series.

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Joe Hildebrand: The Power of Presence

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I am blogging from Jabber on Wall Street event, and Joe Hildebrand, Jabber's Chief Architect presented a brief overview of the technology that underlies Jabber XCP.

His comments:

Jabber XCP is a secure stable technology that can enable sophisticated real-time applications.

New in Jabber XCP 4.0:

  • New federation features: encryption, selective federation
  • even more scalability and avilability
  • information broker
  • SDKs -- taking the existing APIs and extending into full-up SDKs to allow others to more easily develop real-time enabled applications

New in Jabber Messenger 3.0:

  • new look and feel
  • fully skinnable and brandable

Coming Soon:
SIMPLE gateway -- won't have to make a choice on protocol; will integrate with Lotus IM first; Microsoft LCS when it ships

  • external command interface -- custom forms applications; webex integration; other collaboration to follow

    Jabber XCP on Wall Street Tormorrow

    Use content feeds -- internal feeds and from service providers

    Build Real-time applications -- integrate with desktop applications;forms based integration

    Question: Who is your biggest customerand what is the largest number of concurrent users?

    A: France Telecom is largest; HP is customer and Jabber is on every desktop there.

  • [Note: I think that Joe's vision of forms-based Jabber enabled applications that serve the business process automation of the business of tomorrow is dead on.]

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    October 11, 2004

    What's With This One?

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Girl Wonder
    [from girlwonder: The Womanless Web 2.0]

    I'm not attending the Web 2.0 conference. But just looking at the schedule, isn't it interesting that the only woman speaker is Kim Polese? (And only two women are involved in leading workshops?)

    In my experience, working-with-the-Web 1.0 has many more women, including women in management. Is it that when we get to the new new Internet, there's no room for female execs? Surely that's not the case. It's odd that the conference line-up would be so unrepresentative. (Previous O'Reilly conferences have had proportionately more women on the panel. What's with this one?)

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    October 08, 2004

    Jabber on Wall Street

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Jabber on Wall Street JPeg resize.jpgI will be attending the upcoming Jabber event, "Jabber on Wall Street," next Thursday, 14 October, in New York City.

    I have blogged from a lot of conferences, but this is the first time I will be doing so in an official sort of capacity. Will be fun.

    [via email]

    Come hear why Lehman Brothers calls its Jabber-powered solution "a mission-critical communications and trading tool." Learn how Thomson Financial plans to help its customers increase mind share and market share through real-time, context-driven business intelligence. Hear how leading financial services firms use IMlogic to archive and manage messages.

    Jabber is really moving ahead aggressively in deploying its XMP technology as a real-time communication infrastructure. Very cool.

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    October 06, 2004

    Relationship Marketing Conference 3 Nov 2004 in NYC

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Our friends at Business Development Institute have asked me to speak at an upcoming conference that brings together various threads: social networking technologies and techniques being applied to business development. This event will be in New York City, Wednesday, November 03, 2004.

    Building New Business With Breakthrough Relationships: Relationship Marketing and Business Development in the Professional Services Sector

    Business Development Institute and PM Forum North America cordially invite you to join us for a special one-day symposium devoted to exploring how to effectively build and maintain breakthrough relationships that generate new and sustainable business in the professional services sector.

    From the latest in technology applications, to the unique and innovative marketing, communication and business cultivation techniques that are being used successfully in the marketplace, we will examine how to identify and leverage the spectrum of Relationship Marketing solutions that can most effectively deliver real results for in the professional services sector.

    Note: Corante readers can get a $50 discount using the promotional code "corante" in all lower case at the registration page. To register or for more information, click here.

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    September 24, 2004

    Notes from iBreakfast: The Business of Blogging

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I spoke Wed in NYC at Alan Brody's iBreakfast. I got to see some familiar faces (Greg Narain (Get Real and elsewhere), Henry Copeland (Blogads), Salim Ismail (PubSub Concepts)), and meet some new people as well.

    Here's some fragmentary notes from my 10 minutes of fame:

    As I was walking to the meeting this morning, I noticed an ad on the bus stops promoting a new TV show. The message was "The rules have changed; but the game's the same." I maintain that the rules in media are changing so much, that game is not the same.

    But I am very close to the world of blogging, having grown up in it over the past four years. I an highly biased, subjective, and therefore I have a very close to the ground perspective.

    Like blogging itself, I am going to offer a series of observations, perhaps uneven and fragmentary, and there is no conclusion, per se. Always beginning, never finished.

    Gregory Bateson noted in 1964 that "a business [or a market] is best considered as a network of conversations.' This is perhaps more relevant today, when we have seen the emergence of an new infrastructure (Internet) and the various social tools that engender participatory media. Blogging is one element of that new matrix.

    This is a profound revolution, which will ultimately upset a wide variety of applecarts. Established media companies, the basic premises of marketing, and the dynamic of companies (and governments) broadcasting propaganda to their market -- all these things will change. This disruption offers the opportunity to various upstarts to come in and grab market share in all these segments.

    A few words about the medium and its message:

    • Blogging is all about dialog among the members of a community, whether implicit or explicit.
    • Blogging is democratic -- the good stuff is picked up through the wisdom of crowds (as Surowiecki called it), and the bad stuff gathers dust on some forgotten server.
    • Blogging is interactive -- readers are not passive tubers on a couch, they are writing as they read, they are deciding what is the lead news story of their day, they decide how front page inches should go to what topics, subjects, and issues.
    • Blogging is unmediated -- in general, it is the author writing directly, in the first person, for the readership.

    So now, we can approach "the business of blogging" on two sides: how to make money out of the blogging phenomenon (like Corante is trying to do), and how can established businesses exploit the blogging medium in their established (non-media) markets.

    How to Make Money form The Blogging Phenomenon

    • Lee Bryant's (Headshift) observation is that Blogging works from the bottom-up, so the organization of people around blog-based communication networks has to reflect that dynamic. Large organizations that simply try to take blog technology and use it as a broadcast publishing medium will fail, ultimately.
    • The world is really made up of millions of relatively small networks of people, not two dozen enormous markets. Markets are better served by tightly focused, extremely rich social media, rather than today's norms.
    • Blogging is driven by personal brand: authority and trust. This cannot be manufactured, and cannot be imparted to newbies just by affixing a media brand to them.
    • Blogging will change everything it touches: classified, the blurring of oped and so-called factual journalism, and the duality between advertisers as content and context.
    • Blogging is technology driven, and we are not done yet. There are serious fortunes to be made by brining together the right tech mix into new products. In particular, the integration of social tools -- instant messaging, streaming content, and the like -- with blogging.
    • The media companies are losing their control of the media markets, and knowledgeable and erudite bloggers are being able to directly influence market behavior. This transition will accelerate, and then the media business will reformulate itself around the new paradigm.

      How Business can apply Blogging
    • Open an authentic dialog with the marketplace
    • Burn all the brochureware, and let your product people openly discuss plans and goals. Engender a community of involved and smart users -- they will provide better customer support than you can, and they will do it for free.
    • Your markets are smarter than you: create a forum where you can listen instead of talking.
    • Build blog networks to support the actual lines of communication on the company: forget the org chart. Let teams build and manage themselves from the bottom up.
    • In today's economy a brand is no longer a promise, it is an invitation.

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    September 10, 2004

    BDI's Collaboration in Financial Services: NYC 29 Sep 2004

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Just a reminder that the Business Development Institute is presenting the Collaboration in Financial Services event in NYC, 29 Sep 2004.

    I helped organize the conference, along with the conference chair, Ross Dawson and Michael Ross:

    The Collaboration in Financial Services Conference in New York City on September 29th will address the increasing importance of collaboration and collaboration technologies in institutional financial services, and help individual firms and the entire industry to address the challenges and opportunities of this emerging space. It will bring together industry leaders to examine the underlying drivers of change including transparency, execution commoditization, and shifts in buy-side/ sell-side information flows in specific market segments, including equities, fixed income, M&A, and syndication. The conference will bring together industry leaders to examine the underlying drivers of change and the action that should be taken on key issues including:
    • The potential and implications of collaborative technologies
    • Effective compliance for collaboration technologies
    • Collaboration in deal-making: M&A, due diligence, private equity etc.
    • The shift from email to collaborative spaces
    • Online syndication
    • The future of research workflow and distribution
    • Instant messaging interoperability and implementation
    • Creating an industry roadmap for collaboration

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    September 09, 2004


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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    spotme1.gifGot some email amrketing today regarding a new "service" called SpotMe, but what caught my eye was a picture of some gizmo that looks like a PDA. Turns out that its a Spotme Conference Navigator, intended for use at events involving 100-thousands of participants.

    The company behind all this is Shockfish of Lausanne Switzerland, and they develop the handheld "navigators" as well as the base stations that communicate to them, and PC-based software for messaging and data collection of various sorts.

    I was struck by the fact that the system supports messaging from the event managers to the conferees, but not (apparently) a direct one-to-one instant messaging, except for a very structured coordination of meetings; at least that's the impression I got from the website.

    They should incorporate an IRC or Jabber chatroom into the mix, along with 1:1 IM. And it should support the backchannel natively!

    The device supports beaming of personal contact info from one device to ther other (including picture), and a handheld mechanism for viewing agenda, updates, and so on. Lacks other social networking stuff, no blogs, and I don't see how it would carry over after the event except for an email export of your "conference log" including contact info of the various folks you met.

    Still, now that we at Corante are moving quickly into the conference business, this is the sort of technology I would like to see in use at our events, although it needs to be hooked into other technologies -- blogs, IM, etc. -- to link it events up with the rest of the world.

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    July 23, 2004

    Brand Shifting

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I am attending BlogOn (do I ever do anything beside travel to and fro to conferences, you might ask), and one meme continues to emerge from the blog sludge that is being pushed around: how does blogging shift the meaning, perception, and utility of brand?

    I maintain that a metaphorical shift of brand is taking place, analogous with the time shifting that real-time communication has engendered. Being able to touch people in real-time has changed everything in business conversation; similarly, moving the positioning of product or service from broadcast into many:many dialogue will force a reappraisal of brand. It will no longer be a promise, as someone stated yesterday in the BlogOn bootcamp, it will be an invitation.

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    July 19, 2004

    BlogOn is On!

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I have hardly gotten back from the Europe trip (about which I plan to catch up tomorrow, including the lack'o'internet disease I suffered there), when I already had to scramble to make arrangement for BlogOn. We are happy to sponsor this event, where several Corante heads (like Ross Mayfield, danah boyd, and I) are speaking.

    [via email]

    Register today and Save $100 on BlogOn 2004

    Dear Get Real reader,

    There's still time to fill the few empty seats available for BlogOn 2004: the Business of Social Media ( this Thursday and Friday at UC Berkeley. If you ask me, you'll be missing a big chance to catch a fast-forming, vital wave of new opportunity. Our two-day, content-packed conference on the business of social media. The more I communicate with the more than 50 panelists and presenters, the more juiced I get about the conference. I'd like to thank you again for deciding to be part of this watershed event and I want to offer advice for everyonecome early and stay late. BlogOn will begin and end on strong notes, and as I peruse the agenda, what's in-between is potent as well.

    If you act now we'll even knock $100 off the full price -- but act now. This special offer is only good for the next 36 hours.

    Here's what you'll see:

    Our executive boot camp ( will demystify the tools of blogging and their incredible power as well as explain its sometimes daunting language. Notable members of this blossoming technology's growing pioneer brigadeSusan Mernit, partner at 5ive; Ross Mayfield, CEO of Socialtext; JD Lasica, journalist, uber blogger and imminent author; Halley Suitt, senior editor of Worthwhile Magazine; Steve Rubel, vice president, client services of CooperKatz & Company and Mary Hodder, web products manager at Technorati will provide close personal attention to participants.

    At 6 p.m. Thursday, our cocktail reception will set the tone for general session attendees, executive boot camp participants, panelists, presenters in the ambience of UC Berkeley's Faculty Club. Then, our kick-off panel featuring AlwaysOn's Tony Perkins, AOL's Bill Schreiner, CNET's John Roberts and Yahoo's Scott Gatz will paint The Big Picture in bold brushstrokes.

    Friday is content-packed. We'll be presenting a series of interactive panels, company presentations and audience-interactive sessions. If Thursday's panel paints the Big Picture, Friday's informative and insightful panelists will etch in the details.

    Our closing panel will follow the thinking of the private investment community. Sequoia Capital's Mark Kvamme; Martin Tobias of Ignition Partners and Anna Zornosa of Knight Ridder Digital will give clarity to which business models make senseor don'tfrom the private placement perspective.

    Finally, on Friday night, there will also be an informal blogger dinner, at Pyramid Brewing Company in Berkeley, where you can socialize with folks after the conference. If you are interested in attending the dinner, you can register in the BlogOn Wiki, here:

    When you leave BlogOn 2004 we expect you will have a comprehensive understanding of the threshold the technology industry is now passing through as we move toward the Era of Social Media. We all know what doors have closed behind us in the tech sector. It is now time to understand the full promise we are now heading toward with increasing momentum.

    To save $100, register at using the Promotional Code ‘social'. And if you can't make it in person, you can sign up for the webcast at:


    Chris Shipley
    Executive Producer - BlogOn 2004
    Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Guidewire Group, LLC

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    July 08, 2004

    London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Various participants of STES are blogging on their repsective topics: STES blog.

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    Social Tools: Your Network Is Smarter Than You

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    The event planned for next Wednesday in Amsterdam is going to be really fun. I will be elaborating on the theme of emergent knowledge in social systems ("swarm intelligence"), and how various social tools do/do not help.

    Very cool design for the poster advertising the event (click to see full size image).

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    July 02, 2004

    Social Tools: Your Network is Smarter Than You

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I am making a swing through Europe the week of 10-18 July, which should be real fun (at least for me, if not for Europeans).

    In Amsterdam, I am presenting 9pm-10:30pm 9am-11am on 14 July. Please contact George Witteveen for location information and registration.

    "Social Tools: Your Network is Smarter Than You"

    In 1999, I introduced the term "social tools" to represent a new sort of software, one that would change the way businesses and individuals work and play. But this change would not come as the byproduct of its operation.

    "No, this generation of software is intentional, designed from the start to guide human behavior into new paths and patterns, to counter prevailing ways of interaction. I call these social tools: software intended to shape culture." (Message, August 1999)

    Many sorts of software are social (or are becoming socialized), and these have many characteristics in common -- they are focused on social networks, they help us communicate, collaborate, and coordinate better -- but most importantly, they are based on community. And in communities we see the best examples of swarm intelligence, where decisions, inspiration, and knowledge can emerge from the interactions of individuals in ways that prove the axiom: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    How does swarm intelligence work? How can this be practically applied in today's distributed, virtual teams? What relevance does this have to you, and your company's next marketing program, product development cycle, or website design? Learn how to use today's social tools to tap the latent intelligence of your networks of friends, colleagues, and partners.

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    June 29, 2004


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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Corante is a media sponsor of the upcoming BlogOn conference, and we are focusing on "defining social media" (see BlogOn 2004 ). The event takes place July 22-23 at UC Berkeley's Haas Business School.

    We don't have the ad banners up yet, but I am am happy to participate, and to have been singled out as one of the roster of speakers:

    • Robert Scoble, Microsoft's technical evangelist of the US.NET platform strategy and one of the blogging world's best-known personalities;
    • Christopher Locke, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, the book that first defined marketing as conversations;
    • Mark Kvamme, a partner in Sequoia Capital, one of the most active investors in social media start ups;
    • Ross Settles, vice president of strategic marketing for Knight Ridder Digital, the online arm of the traditional publishing giant;
    • Jim Spohrer, director of the Services Research Group at IBM's Almaden Laboratory, whose focus has been on social network computing within the context of how business and technology are evolving together;
    • Rich Gordon, a professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University;
    • James Currier, CEO of, the leading interpersonal social media company, recently acquired by;
    • Jamie Riehle, global product manager of Web Publishing for Terra Lycos, a global Internet group;
    • Jerry Michalski, CEO of Sociate, and a frequent writer, consultant and speaker;
    • Stowe Boyd, managing director of Corante Research, a service that tracks, analyzes and explains emerging technologies and their impact on business and society;
    • Henry Copeland, founder and CEO of BlogAds, a new form of advertising;
    • Steve Gillmor, eWEEK's OpEd columnist and contributing editor;
    • Rafat Ali, CEO of a marketer of content to digital media including online, wireless, desktop and off-desktop applications, products and services;
    • David Sifry, founder and CEO of Technorati, the leader in blog searches and indexing;
    • Shripriya Mashesh, eBay's senior director of product strategy is not only eBay's key person on blogging and social networking, she's also expert in reputation market issues;
    • Chris DiBona, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Damage Studios, a California based game studio developing large-scale multiplayer games; and
    • Mark Finnern, collaboration manager for the SAP Developer Network.

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    June 25, 2004

    The future of RSS and IM?

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Here's a link to one of the postings from Supernova on the panel The future of RSS and IM?. I don't know the author's name, but will find out.

    So I'll be the first to admit that I have my biases, but when the Stowe Boyd, the moderator of "The Future of Email" panel argued that...

    - Email is bad because you can send it to anyone
    - Email is bad because it's asynchronous

    I started to worry that I had slipped into some alternate universe where email isn't the killer app, and where those weren't the two primary benefits of the medium.

    Well, that's sorta what I said. I said (see Email Blows) that email is not particularly good at many of the things we use it for, and that it is a lowest common denominator approach. I think the IM model is better in many ways, and believe that email will have to adopt much or all of what IM does.

    By the way, Esther Dyson made a number of great points from the floor. She pointed out that we need to break out the various communications capabilities -- like RSS reading and publishing, synchronous and asynchronous communications, calendaring -- that currently are lumped into the email inbox. People should be able to mix and match these independently of each other, and just pushing everything into one big mess in Outlook or a portal is not a "solution" to the email problem, as several of the panelists seemed to argue.

    Now me, I want to burn the email inbox down, but that's exactly the kind of anti-social behavior that got me into trouble yesterday.

    [tags: ]

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    Email Blows

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I chaired a panel at Supernova yesterday, entitled "Spam and the Future of Email" and really got a lot of the greybeards assembled shaking their heads.

    My thesis, in case you missed the sidechat, is that email blows:

    Email sucks, and all the nice things about it (universal addressability, universal standards, etc.) add up to the reasons that it has become unusable. It sucks.

    I think that IM is a better model -- so much better that email will have to adopt the definining characteristics of IM to survive:

    • Gated community -- IM are networks, and th emembers must log in to enter. Once in, the members must follow certain protocols of interaction (either directly or indirectly enforced) or they are booted out. This could prohibit sales intrusion, sex advances, etc., depending on the network's arrangement.
    • Communication with the Known -- while IM networks may allow strangers to contact us, we can opt to shut them off. In essence, we can limit communication to those that are known to us.
    • Conversation, not Communique -- email is not conversational, really, unless you believe that sending letters through surface mail is conversational. Conversation is generally better than dueling essays, which is the communication style that email engenders.

    Well. We will see, but email -- because of the fundamental flaws in the system --is falling down. What made it useful in an earlier world is dooming it in this one.

    We should just switch to IM-based communication, and treat email like fax or surface mail.

    Despite the generation evidence -- danah boyd pointed out in a session on connected work that young people prefer other media to email -- and the spam invasion, people are so comfortable with their email inbox that they can't really contemplate moving onto a different footing.

    I pointed out that earlier 'indispensible' communication media, like the telegraph, fax, jungle drums, smoke signals, and surface mail, have been relegated to the trash heap.

    Oh well. I guess I hadn't expected people to ask where they could sign up to join my "just say no to email" movement, but I didn't expect that the Supernova crowd would be boiling the tar and plcking the chickens getting ready to tar and feather me.

    I maintain that one of the key aspects of the future of email is that it will decrease in use relative to other media, especially instant messaging based technologies and blog/RSS collaboration tools.

    Some of my panelists maintain that email is fine, and just needs to be fixed up a little -- clean out the spam -- and then everything can go back to normal. Personally, I think email is not particulary good for the things we try to use it to do, despite the fact that we are used to it, and it is universal.

    After the panel, various folks tried to reason with me. "Don't you understand," several of them said, "everything connects through email, and its so easy to use." Yeah, yeah. Fine.

    Personally I am interested in the issues surrounding communicating with those known to me, or known in the context of some social group. And for those situations, email blows. I refuse to agree that we should settle for a lowest-common denominator approach for what is most important, really, which is collaborating with my closest contacts.

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    May 28, 2004

    Vertebrate v Invertebrate Conferences

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Marc 'implores' the organizers of the upcoming London Sumposium on Social Tools in the Enterprise to not let the conference be the same old-same old:

    Marc Canter
    from [Marc's Voice]

    I know there's not much time - but I deplore the conference advisors and sponsors to NOT make this just like every other day-long symposium you've ever attended. Make it something special, something different, for the children - if for no other reason - to leave them a legacy of innovation.

    I'm all for it.

    I am a real fan of what I call 'vertebrate' formats for conferences, where the theme or topics are a backbone for the event, and the activities surround and actualize it. This allows a lot of flex, and provide an opportunity for very different experiences for different attendees. 'Invertebrate' conferences have the hard exoskeleton of the theme pushed out into the forground -- like a get-together on forest fires where you have to go fight a forest fire.

    In our situation, I am all for people trying to augment the on-day session with various social tools -- blogging, wikis, IM, whatever. But I don't want to spend 1/3 of the day outfitting the attendees with the tools of the trade, or relying on the tools to make the case.

    My original pitch was for a late-night TV show format, where the speakers are limited to like 10 minutes of schtick and then there is a bantering interview with various folks plunking down on the couch. David Weinberger and I did that once at a conference, and it was great. (I got to be the fat guy at the end of the couch.)

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    May 26, 2004

    London Symposium on Social Tools for the Enterprise

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Looks like the frantic discussions of the past weeks have led to a real event coming together. Matt Mower and a host of others (including me) have dreamed up an symposium on social tools for the enterprise, which is scheduled for 12 July in London. The London KM Cluster is handling the logistics and planning, and have arranged for a beautiful venue in Bloomsbury Square. For more information or to register, please click here.

    Corante will be a media sponsor of the event, and I have been asked to speak.

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    May 15, 2004

    Blog, Wikis, Social Networks - what can social software do for you?

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I feel horribly remiss that I haven't mentioned that Tom Mandel and a group of other talented people (Lisa Kimball, Ross Mayfield, Tom Erickson, and Duncan Work) are presenting a 5-day online course on social software this upcoming week (17-21 May 2004), entitled Blog, Wikis, Social Networks - what can social software do for you?

    These folks know what they are talking about and how to present in an online setting.

    Blog, Wikis, Social Networks - what can social software do for you? From the Wall Street Journal to Business 2.0, everyone's talking about social software. This affordable online course will help you get past the buzz and find out what's in it for you.

    Organizations today want to foster knowledge, deepen working relationships, and create a collaborative culture and esprit de corps. Social software can deliver on this promise.

    Taught by industry pioneers Tom Mandel and Lisa Kimball, this affordable executive briefing will pay off for your organization. You will try social software tools in a safe and guided environment. You will engage with social software leaders and exchange experiences with your peers and colleagues. Sign up today, and begin learning about a topic of great importance to your organization and your future.

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    May 14, 2004

    Speaking at Inbox

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I have been asked to speak at INBOX, a conference from the GoldenGroup. The conference is 2-4 June 2004, in San Jose CA.

    I am participating on a panel with Ross Mayfield (from Many2Many and Socialtext) on the topic of "Email is Dead"-- and I can't wait.

    Are we trying to bang the round email peg into square holes it simply wasn't designed for? What do do we mean when we say email anyway? Email's openness was a factor for its adoption, is it cause for decline or will it resemble what we know and love? Will Weblogs, syndication, wikis and instant messaging replace email?
    You're damn right they will!
    I am likely to try to set up a Stowe-on-Wheels cocktail get-together in San Jose that Thursday evening. Ping me if you'd like to be invited!

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    Possible SNA Symposium in London

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Because of a lot of people flitting around in Europe at approximately the same time, Matt Mower and Paolo Valdemarin (of Evectors) have volunteered to host a Symposium on Social Network Applications for Enterprises in London. Matt has set up a wiki (see Matt's Wiki: SNASymposium) where you are invited to get involved if you are interested.

    Current possibilities for dates range from 8 July (immediately following the BlogTalk 2.0 conference in Vienna) and up to 14 July (immediately preceding the iDate conference in Nice). The weekend is unlikely to work. I plan to attend and participate, in some undefined way.

    The page may be moving to a different location, soon.

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    May 06, 2004

    Europe Travels

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I have been asked to speak at the upcoming iDate 2004 conference in Nice, France, scheduled for 15-16 July. Corante will be a media sponsor, as well.

    I am interested in finding other excuses for extending my stay in Europe a week (through 23 July, potentially), so I am entertaining opportunities for other speaking engagements around that time in Europe. Please contact me at if you have thoughts along these lines.

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    April 28, 2004

    Scott Allen's "LinkedIn Unleased"

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Scott Allen (of Online Business Networks) is presenting a "teleclass" on the application of Linkedin today at 12pm PT. I bet the material will be generally applicable to other social networking solutions, as well. Check it out and sign up at LinkedIn Unleashed.

    [11:15 am ET: Updated URL to the right page for registering for the teleclass]

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    April 19, 2004

    My Trip To BloggerCon II

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I had a great trip to BloggerCon II. Aside from the fact that Harvard is not prepared for an overly warm day in April (air conditioning was inadequate for the mob), the event was otherwise great. Saw a lot of existing friends and "equiantances."

    The high point of the symposium for me was the session on "The Business of Blogging" (not to be confused with "Blogging in Business"), led by Jeff Jarvis. I was amazed to discover that we at Corante are in the vanguard of bloggers, inasmuchas we are already deriving measurable revenue from ad-based sponsorship (see the right column, if you haven't noticed them already).

    My participation in Jeff's session led to several chats, later, with bloggers and reporters about the fact that the new media of blogging is adopting (or absorbing) some of the traditional financial models of traditional media.

    Julie Haggerty
    [from The New York Times]

    But the most talked about route to profit was selling advertisements that pay by the month or by the number of blog visits. Boing Boing (, one of the most popular blogs on the Web with its musings by four freelance writers, is considering adding sponsors as a way to offset its server fees of about $1,000 a month.

    But observers wonder how advertising - the lifeblood of mainstream newspapers and magazines - will affect the grass-roots-sensibility of Boing Boing and other blogs.

    "It all comes down to personal integrity," Mr. Jarvis said. "If you trust and like and read Boing Boing because you trust and like and read it, there is no reason you wouldn't continue to read them because someone is paying for their server."

    Bloggers, like Stowe Boyd, who posts at, have no problem reviewing products with one hand and soliciting sponsors with the other. Mr. Boyd, who came to the conference from Reston, Va., makes most of his income as a consultant on collaborative technologies, but credits his blog with about $3,000 in advertising revenue each month. "They can't get me to turn around and promote their product," he said. "It's all my agenda."

    Before advertisers will flock to blogs, Mr. Jarvis said, bloggers will need to develop data on who is visiting their site, and how often. "I don't want to blow up a bubble here and say this is going to be huge," Mr. Jarvis said." The beauty of it is it is small and it's in the hands of the people."

    Henry Copeland, founder of BlogAds, a service that provides classified advertising for Web logs, is even more confident. He predicted that blogs that are making $5,000 a month will be making five or six times that a year from now. Soon, advertisers will be able to say "I want to buy ads on 25 different Web logs in Southern California written by women who drive humvees," and have the perfect audience at their fingertips, he said.

    I was unaware that so few bloggers are making money -- in fact, for many semi-successful bloggers the hobby can take a big bite out of their wallet when a spike in readership leads to additional fees from a hosting provider.

    Two important outgrowths of the conference for me:

    • Jeff Jarvis' session led to a straw poll suggesting as a next step that we form a 'blogging business association' to establish guidelines, collectively bargain for insurance (and other services), and lobby for the 'blogging fringe' of the media marketplace.
    • I hope to kick off a seminar series (with the sponsorship and support of Corante) to help bloggers turn the corner on becoming a 'professional blogger' -- for which a full definition is still in development. There is no replacement for great content, but content is not enough. I hope to show others how to put the pieces together so blogging can more than just a solitary obsession, and perhaps enough of a paying proposition so you can quit your day job.

    For more information on the seminars, or to get information in general from Get Real, please register in the 'Subscribe' box in the left margin.

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    March 31, 2004

    Social Tools: Ready for the Enterprise?

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Due to several requests, I am posting the PDF of my recent presentation:Social Tools: Ready for the Enterprise?. Click here to download the file.


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    March 29, 2004

    Social Tools: Ready For The Enterprise?

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    My first monthly webcast, entitled Social Tools: Ready For The Enterprise? is available for viewing.

    A few comments:

    • The presentation is 55 minutes long.
    • Note this is the dry run for a one hour keynote I presented last week at the KM Cluster-sponsored Social Networking symposium in NYC.

    • I treat social tools in general, including tools that help us create, maintain, and manage social relationships implicitly and explicitly. The former includes things like blogs, and the former, social networking applications.
    • If you want to jump ahead, around 29 minutes in I treat Social Networking in isolation
    • I introduce a 2x2 matrix for differentiating products and services in the social networking space: public v private, and individual v enterprise buy. More to follow in this month's Social Commentary at Darwin.

    Let me know what you think. Future webcast are likely to be considerably shorter (like 25 mins) plus a few minutes of sponsor information.

    [Note: I really have to get a new headshot -- seeing my 50-year-old white goatee side by side with the 40-year-old brown goatee makes it really obvious!]

    [Also note: This is my first foray into the use of Macromedia Breeze. I hope to write up some notes on that later in the week, but so far it has been very, very easy to use.]

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    February 26, 2004

    The Future of Trading and the Evolution of the Real-Time Enterprise

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    KnowNow, Accius, and WhenTech are sponsoring a seminar in NYC, March 1, 2004, entitled The Future of Trading and the Evolution of the Real-Time Enterprise. Jnan Dash, KnowNow's chief technology officer will be presenting.

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    January 15, 2004

    KM Cluster Social Technologies Event

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I have been invited to present at a KM Cluster event in NYC, 26 March 2004. Deloitte is hosting the event at their Manhattan offices. My talk is entitled "Social Tools: Ready for the Enterprise," the same title that I used for a recent Cutter Consortium report I wrote. The event will be a full day, and John Maloney, who heads KM Cluster, will soon be posting more information about it.

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    November 13, 2003

    Strange Comdex Combinations

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I have received press releases from both IMlogic and FaceTime that their respective CEOs, Francis DeSouza and Glen Vondrick, have been asked to participate in a Comdex session touching on instant messaging.

    The session, however, is a strange chimera, entitled "Instantaneous Online Communications: Instant Messaging, Presence and Blogging." As far as I know, there are only a few blogging technologies that support any sort of instant messaging (see Mo'time: IM-enabled Blogging as one example), so I suppose the session is a catch-all of new and emerging technologies.

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    October 20, 2003

    Instant Messaging Planet Conference and Expo

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I am posting an After-Action Report on the recent Instant Messaging Planet Conference, rather than a series of reports during the conference, since the conference organizers did not provide a wireless network for the show. (In fact, I heard a rumor that the conference hotel shut off their wireless network during the conference, so that all expo internet access could be routed through leased internet services.)

    I found the IMP conference itself rewarding, particularly the keynotes by Steve Boom (SVP. Enterprise Solutions, Yahoo!) and Gurdeep Singh Pall (General Manager, Real-Time Messaging and Platform Group, Microsoft).

    The conference format I found wearing: two tracks of panel sessions aside from the four keynotes, but the quality of the presenters seems to counter the problems in format and makes listening worthwhile. But it seems like an endless banquet of finger food, and I found myself by the end of day one hungry for a real meal: a deeper presentation of market trends, protocols, what's happening in the wireless community, or best practices from the field. Notably absent are case studies from end users, which in my experience are the presentations most desired by technology users.

    For the conference to grow into something more useful and well-attended (I think there were at most 150 paid attendees, after you subtract all the speakers, vendors, analysts, and journalists) the organizers will need to revamp the conference structure, and market it more aggressively, as well.

    Despite these shortcomings, I look forward to the conference as an opportunity to meet with dozens of my industry contacts and to learn what others are saying about the state of the market. I'm like the guy who goes back to the same cottage in the mountains every summer, despite the lumpy mattresses, the mice in the attic, and the tendency of the nearby stream to flood its banks. All year long I tell fish stories about the last vacation there and make plans for the next trip back.

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    October 08, 2003

    Instant Messaging Planet Conference and Expo

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    Instant Messaging Planet's Conference and Expo is being held next week in San Jose, 15-16 October 2003.

    This is the leading conference for the exploding instant messaging industry. Luminaries presenting at the conference include Steve Boom (SVP, Yahoo! Enterprise Solutions), Ed Fish (SVP/GM, Desktop Messaging, AOL), Gurdeep Singh Pall (GM, Collaboration Solutions, Microsoft), and Stephen Pelletier (VP, Network Identity, Communications & Portal, Sun Microsystems). I will also be presenting at the conference, where I am also serving as a member of the Advisory Committee.

    I strongly recommend attending for anyone interested in the inside story on IM, especially those who want to kick the tires of various offerings.

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    July 08, 2003

    Pulver Supernova: Opening Session Comments

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    Posted by Stowe Boyd

    I find that I am unmoved by the pronostications and pronouncements by Reed Hundt, former Chairman of FCC, arguing the benefits of the government underwriting fiber to every home as a means to stimulate the telecom industry, and indirectly, innovation. Only $40B, and think of the fun that we'll have, he seems to be saying.

    Clay Shirky adroitly ripostes with the reasons why propping up the status quo -- the folks in the telecom space that own the 'last mile' of twisted pair wiring to the house -- is a bad idea and suggests that three must be a better solution. His discussion of the "dumb bell" internet -- where the fast IP network and the fast networks that businesses and homes support are divided by the slow twisted pair network. He argues that stagnation is a real possibility -- there is no reason to imagine a wave of innovation is about to emerge. I concur with his analogy between America tied up by the twisted pair network and France blocked from quickly adopting the Internet because of its reliance and investment in Minitel.

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